Some East Texans Unhappy About Cigarette Tax - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

01/03/06 - Lufkin

Some East Texans Unhappy About Cigarette Tax

by Jessica Cervantez

Twenty-four-year-old Kimberly Brame has been smoking since she was 18 years old. She thinks the dollar tax increase is ridiculous.

"I mean, what else are they going to start jacking up prices on? Dr. Peppers? Beer?  People are going to start bootlegging cigarettes into town," she said.

Karolyn Klaes, who is The Tobacco Shop owner in Lufkin, said many of her customers feel the same way, but believes most of them will just eat up the extra cost. In fact, most knew the dollar tax was coming, so they prepared and stocked up early.

Klaes said, "Over the last couple of weeks they have been stockpiling.  They have been coming in and buying as many cigarettes as they can afford.  A lot of them have cleared out their savings accounts to buy these cigarettes. As a result, we're pretty much empty -- about twenty cartons left in this store total."

So, instead of paying about $3.37 for a pack of cigarettes, smokers will find themselves paying just under $5. The new tax is expected to generate $680 million additional dollars every year. That money is designed to offset cuts in local school property taxes. But, even some non-smokers disagree with the tax.

One East Texan said, "My husband and my son smoke. I think it's so stupid, you know. I think they're just trying to make a million dollars."

Another East Texan said, "If I was a smoker, I think I would quit."

So now, smokers will have to decide to either kick the habit or pay the extra dollar.

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