Princeton electronic cigarette business E-Cig World reported last week that its business hadn’t yet felt the effect of Minnesota’s recent $1.60 per pack increase in the cigarette tax.
But the July 1 cigarette tax hike has affected the town’s other electronic cigarette business, E-Cig Healthy Living, as well as Prince Tobacco, which sells traditional tobacco products and e-cigarettes.
Cody Carroll, at the counter of E-Cig Healthy Living, which recently opened in Princeton, said the cigarette tax increase has “affected us in a big way.” Carroll said that “flows of
people” have been coming into the shop since the cigarette tax hike began and that he even noticed an increase in customers a couple days before.
The extra customers are not buying e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking, but because of the new tax, Carroll said.
Nick Tarifi, owner of Prince Tobacco in downtown Princeton, said his cigarette sales have gone down since the cigarette tax increase.
The state Legislature this past session more than doubled the tax on a pack of cigarettes, pushing the tax from $1.23 per pack to $2.83.
The increased revenue from the higher tax is earmarked to help the state pay its share of the planned new Vikings football stadium.
Tarifi also said that since the news came out on the state cigarette tax hike, he has heard more patrons talking about quitting smoking. He also reported his cigarette sales falling and that more cigarette smokers are opting to buy loose tobacco to roll their own cigarettes to cut the cost of smoking.
Tarifi has also seen a rise in the sale of his e-cigarettes.
Also, more customers are asking for the lowest priced cigarettes, Tarifi added. The light variety of cigarettes are cheaper, but the minimum anyone will pay for a pack of cigarettes at his business is $5.75, he said. All of the Camel and Marlboro cigarette packs are going for $7.99 now, he said. Some of Tarifi’s cigarettes are going for close to $70 per carton. A pack usually contains 20 cigarettes and a carton usually holds 10 packs.
Some would consider a tobacco habit as costly, and plenty of warnings exist about the negative effects of smoking on people’s health. But so far neither the warnings nor the increase in cost will affect at least one cigarette smoker, said smoker Ross Evans.
“I’m not too concerned … yet,” he said on July 3, noting that he had not yet bought any cigarettes since the higher tax kicked in. Evans, 22, when asked if he has thought about quitting since the price has gone up, said he doesn’t expect to quit.