Cigarette tax climbs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cigarette tax climbs

Melanie Angle Melanie Angle

June 30, 2003

Tifton- It was a good thing Peter Patel's cigarette shipment came in on time. Smokers started to stock pile tobacco products getting enough for months in advance.

"Usually they are stocking about twice or three times what they are buying normally in cigarettes," says store owner Peter Patel.

While some took advantage of the price without the 25-cent tax increase, others say they'll just wait and buy them pack by pack.

"We going to continue to smoke. It's a habit; You're addicted, and if you're addicted to them you're going to continue to smoke them. Twenty-five cents is not going to make any difference at all," admits Ralph Nichols.

But it will make a difference to Melanie Angle. She says nearly half or all her profits are in tobacco sales and a tax hike will mean a dip in her sales.

"Not only cigarettes but all the dip is going up all the chewing tobacco is going up, all the cigars and everything are going up. Yeah, they're going to have a fit tomorrow when they come in," says Angle.

Though the tax is expected to generate an extra $180 million in revenue, Angle says it may actually cost the state.

"A lot of customers have even told me that they'll just cross into Florida to buy cheaper. They can actually get some cigarette cheaper in Florida, and that's outrageous," admits Angle.

Clerks say they just hope customers will understand that its not their fault it will cost them more to light up.

Posted at 5:30 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com