Tobacco tax hike hits businesses, consumers

Tobacco tax reax

GROVER BEACH, Calif. - Cigarette smokers are now paying more than ever in California for tobacco. 

The passing of Proposition 56 last November means every pack of cigarettes is being taxed an extra two dollars beginning April 1. 

The state is hoping this significant increase will encourage more people to quit. 

Grover Beach 7-11 owner Manny Vark says the tobacco rush was notable ahead of Saturdays cigarette tax hike. "A lot of people were here buying cigarettes," he says. "We sold a lot of cartons."

Gas stations and convenience stores across California reported being sold out of cigarette cartons Friday. 

"It might make me rethink it a little bit," says Sean Fee, who did not realize the increase until he looked at his receipt buying cigarettes Saturday afternoon. "I might at least slow down."

"A lot of people I spoke with told me they are going to try and quit," says Vark. 

That is exactly what the state is hoping for. Every time the state of New York has raised its cigarette tax - now at $4.35 compared to $2.87 in California - calls to the states tobacco quit lines spiked. Officials are hoping for similar results. 

Vark says it is affecting business, but not for long. 

"Temporarily I think it might go down, but eventually it will be the same."

Believing most smokers will be back. 

"Cigarettes have been around forever," says Vark. "They have gone from one dollar to ten dollars and in New York City its 14 dollars, but I don't think people are going to quit."





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