Smokers feeling sting of increased MN tax - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Smokers feeling sting of increased MN tax

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Smokers are feeling the pinch in Minnesota this week as a new tax is now in affect, and tobacco prices are suddenly an extra $1.60 a pack.

The extra charge brings the total tax to $2.83 per pack. But that figure is just the tax. Which means cartons are going for nearly 80 dollars, putting Minnesota in 6th place nationally for the highest tax on cigarettes.

And that has smokers questioning their decisions.

At several local tobacco and smoke shops, consumers say the increased price is driving them to other alternatives, like e-cigarettes, where a user still puffs what looks like a cigarette.

An e-cigarette is a battery-powered device that gives off a vapor that contains nicotine, but no tar.

One local resident says the tax increase has her switching-- and it was the kick she needed to stop smoking.

Others say the increase is just driving business away from Minnesota, as taxes on tobacco weren't raised in our bordering states like Iowa or Wisconsin.

We contacted convenience stores in Chester, Iowa, who say they have seen an increase in customers from Minnesota purchasing cigaraettes.

Still others we talked to Tuesday were considering other alternatives, like rolling their own cigarettes.

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