Smoke shop worker says customers cry, ask for single cig thanks to new tax

Categories: Taxes
CigNew.jpg
Sure, smokers aren't thrilled with the $1.60-per-pack tax that went into effect in July, but would you believe some are crying about it?

SEE ALSO: E-cigs banned at Target Field

That's how the sticker shock has manifested itself at one Twin Cities smoke shop, if a worker there can be believed.

"It's very bad," Abdul Habit, an employee at New Smokes in Maplewood, told MPR. "It went down, like people [are] cutting back. People who used to buy a carton, now they buy five packs. People who used to buy a pack, now they just ask for single cigarette."

"They cry a lot," he added.

Tears or not, cig sales in the state dropped 35 percent this July compared to July 2012, MPR, citing state data, reports. And in August, they were down 12 percent compared to the year prior.

But not everybody is crying. As far as the state is concerned, the tax hike more than makes up for any resulting sales dip. MPR reports that in July and August, cig tax revenue was up nearly 56 percent compared to last year.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

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79 comments
Isaac
Isaac

I think that cigarettes ought to be taxed, but the amount they are taxed now borders on ludicrous.  That said, if you find yourself in tears and begging for "just one", shouldn't that be a wake up call for you?

TC4L
TC4L

I didn't really like the free patches when quitting.  Nicoderm cq patches worked very well.  There are huge amount of people who only smoke on weekends or even a few a month.  Why not legalize it to sell singles?  Never understood why the $tate would allow you to buy thousands of cigarettes at once but no less than 20. Sarcasm $$$$$

Marie Boshoff
Marie Boshoff

I came home last night and had a good cry after I spend the day helping to photograph kids with cancer at John Hopkins Children Center. And as an on-again/off-again social smoker myself, I can tell you, that experience has me never wanting to smoke cigs ever again. Breathe easy MN.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

I would gladly pay a high tax on legal pot.  If Minnesota wants to truly advance they should do that.  Less crime, less taxes, and more jobs.   Everyone wins.   Smokers are whining.  At least you assholes don't go to jail for your bad health choices.  

Justin Falken
Justin Falken

I guess i don't give a fuck. I make my own cancer sticks. Saves lots of dough.

Lindsey Clarke
Lindsey Clarke

Quit whining that the city isn't supporting your terrible, inconsiderate habits. It's a totally unnecessary habit that you voluntarily had to pick up, light, put in your mouth and drag. It does nothing for you or anyone except make everything gross and give you cancer and less money in your wallet. Why the fuck would anyone WANT to smoke?

Brendon Hayes
Brendon Hayes

If the tax were going to the public school system and not a stadium I would actually be really happy about the increase.

Brendon Hayes
Brendon Hayes

I'm calling bs on people crying over the price. Its cute that most of the people against smoking that are posting here are over weight.

AriPoTato
AriPoTato

I can't wait for the trans-fat tax, god knows that's coming soon too. Booze, tobbacco...no more vices, we'll see how that goes.


Brian Steidl
Brian Steidl

I think it helps drive home the cost of smoking, Out of my 5 uncles 1 lived to 93, and all the smoker died by 75. the non smokers are still alive and in their late 70's. I still miss my Dad after 11 years.

Jessica Thunstrom Nelson
Jessica Thunstrom Nelson

Lori None at all. You do your best to help people. Not much you can do when it doesn't seem like they want it. You're a good person.

Lori Schilling Jensen
Lori Schilling Jensen

I can absolutely agree with you that there are people who have the ability to quit smoking and other negative activities with ease and others struggle mightily for many different reasons. And yes people are quick to judge. I don't think that is going to change. Sometimes I judge- I get tired of trying to help people who don't want to help themselves, who blame me, who have excuses for everything. But that is an entirely different subject. Thank you clarifying, hope no hard feelings.

Tony Delmonte
Tony Delmonte

not true at all. I have classic Autism & Straight Edge & living a great life.

Tony Delmonte
Tony Delmonte

I understand for most people that smoking & drinking are escapes & anxiety & stress reducers. but really smoking is for losers unless you quit you come back as a winner. See I am 41 & Straight Edge: No Alcohol, No Drugs, No Pot, No Smoking, No Cigars. none of that. but to the smokers: just live your life the way you want to live it. i'm not stopping. :)

Jessica Thunstrom Nelson
Jessica Thunstrom Nelson

Lori I must not have been completely clear. I'm not saying anyone *should* keep smoking. Just trying to point out a possible cause for the seemingly unreasonable reactions some people alluded to in the story are having. I'm not saying quitting smoking isn't a good idea, just saying that for some, that particular struggle - especially if not mentally prepared for it - can be far more difficult for some people than for others; so maybe instead of being condescending like some of the first commenters were, that maybe they should take that into account before calling such people whiny babies and such. The idea that people are supposedly breaking down in tears asking for a single cigarette says to me that these people in particular probably have bigger issues going on than average nicotine addiction, and it hurts my heart to see people pouncing on them for that.

brandi318
brandi318

I am a smoker, and I want to know why I have to pay for a stadium that I will NEVER use. You want a new stadium, tax football fans. And I am extremely curious what idiot proposed building a new stadium when half of the public cant afford basic housing. Yes, I went to college, and I currently work TWO jobs to pay for basic expenses. Now you want to charge my leisure items to build something I have no desire to ever even visit once. You want a new stadium then pay for it yourself. 

Lori Schilling Jensen
Lori Schilling Jensen

Jessica I am just really bothered by your statement "because tobacco is the only truly effective thing out there for bipolar". I did goggle it and there is some research that supports that but there is also research that supports that nicotine may make manic and psychotic episodes worse. I have a masters degree in psychology and I have been working with mentally ill people for 15 years. So I think I am qualified to state that I have seen MANY other effective treatments for people suffering with bipolar. But everyone is an individual and not everyone responds to the same treatment the same way. The bottom line is "in general" smoking cigarettes is extremely detrimental to your health and costs our country billions every year in health care costs. If everyone can quit that is the best thing for them. However I am aware that is easier said than done for many people, probably including yourself.

TheConservativeJerk
TheConservativeJerk topcommenter

Will people see a COLA (cost of living increase) in their welfare benefits?  

Or will this be one of the first steps in telling people on public assistamce they WILL change their behavior.    

Liberal compassion... 

amiller92
amiller92

Wow, that's really great news.

Al Bindewald
Al Bindewald

Oh you'll loose, Ryan Brink! If there was more games in a season maybe they could beat the spread between losses and rape charges!

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

My dad smoked several packs a day when I was growing up.  Smoke was all around.  I started chewing as a high-school baseball player, then switched to the (then) more-acceptable smoking and smoked for nearly 25 years.  I tended to smoke a pack a day, more or less.  I spent at least 5 years quitting.  It was absolutely brutal.  Sleep patterns, nightmares, digestion, taste, smell, tunnel vision, (in)ability to concentrate, headache; all disrupted.  I could barely drive or complete simple tasks while detoxing from nicotine.  It would get so bad I would smoke 1/4 of a cigarette just to be able to function at work-related tasks.  I could use the patch just fine, and cut way down; but the transition to zero nicotine was so hard I just couldn't do it.

Some people don't seem to have the pre-disposition to extreme physical addiction to nicotine.  I sure as hell do.  Finally I got a prescription to Chantix, and that worked like shutting off a switch, but I had the most vivid and terrifying nightmares I've ever even heard of.  I started taking melatonin at bedtime, but I still had nightmares about being trapped while people killed my family; dreams so realistic they incorporated things that were real, like the sounds of my house at night and the look and placement of my alarm clock.  

Anyway, I've been off that god-damned stuff for over 2 years now, but the cravings can come back out of the blue with no warning.  They're getting less physical and palpable as time goes by, but if I were really tired, on the end of a string of 16-hour work days, and I had the opportunity I don't flatter myself; I could bum a smoke and be right back to pack-a-day dependence in a heartbeat.

I sure hope this tax hike induces more people to do whatever it takes to get off that shit.  It doesn't do much of anything for you, until you're hooked, and then it's the only thing that makes you feel normal.  I believe there are people crying because they can't afford to smoke.  100%.  If that weren't true, those awful evil companies wouldn't have been manipulating the nicotine levels in their product for profit all these years.

It isn't the same for everyone.  If it was easy for you to quit, thank whatever deity you prefer for your good fortune.  I'm grateful I had the roughly $600 it cost for a course of Chantix. 

Ryan Brink
Ryan Brink

You'll haft a give me enough time so's I can sell enough pla$ma to buy a whole carton should I lose.

Al Bindewald
Al Bindewald

Ryan Brink, I like to buy cigs with my EBT card! Bet ya a carton of Winstons the Vikings don't win a single game in Marlboro stadium!

TheConservativeJerk
TheConservativeJerk topcommenter

Hmmm, who would have ever thought that poor black smokers would end up paying for the Vikings Stadium.    The democrats campaigned on that right?

Ryan Brink
Ryan Brink

Al Bindewald, I happen to be a "fat fuck", I dont appreciate your nasty mouth.

Ran Dazzle
Ran Dazzle

I smoked for 35 years 2 packs a day and when the prices starting rising 4 years ago I quit cold turkey..How bad do you want it?

Al Bindewald
Al Bindewald

Skoal Vikings, ride that fucking camel! Perhaps this same tax strategy could be applied to all the fat fucks who eat fast food!

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

They have dropped, not all because of people quitting.   We have a business friendly state as little as 5 miles east.  They are just going there to buy.   Also, since the tax on sales will to some extent cause less use, the revenue will have to come from somewhere to pay for Welfare-individual and Corporate, through gee say property taxes, other use taxes, fee's ect....  Its the DFL way!   So all of you out there saying this is good, your going to pay because in a DFL state if the Tax revenue goes down then they will hit you somewhere else to pay for the Stadium, Unions, DFL, and programs programs programs.    They will make up for the lost revenue because they were counting on that revenue from Cigs, which folks will quit and/or buy elsewhere.   So next time you don't think a tax increase does not effect you, the joke is on you, fools. 

gahnzo08
gahnzo08

So when more people quit...and the increased taxes are not enough to pay for the stadium.. what is Governor Markie going to tax to make up for the loss.

Matt Connell
Matt Connell

I've heard of a nic fit, but this is ridiculous.

nonsmoker
nonsmoker

Haha. I quit, not because of the tax though, because smoking is dumb! (cigs that is)

SidVicious
SidVicious

This tax is OPTIONAL! No one has to pay it. Just quit smoking. Easy.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@MicheleBachmann hey now...  I resemble that statement.

Seriously though, smoking doesn't make me an asshole.  My unending tirades on CP.com do that. 

Isaac
Isaac

@TheConservativeJerk Let me get this straight: are you for taxpayer subsidization of tobacco for welfare recipients?

_Joe_
_Joe_

@swmnguy  Good job man.  I hope I can follow suit soon.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@kurt124 cigarettes cost just as much, if not more in WI.  source:  I'm a smoker.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@kurt124   If anybody quits smoking as a result; if only because they live too far from "Sconie or a rez for it to make sense to them to drive to keep feeding that habit, it's worth it.  It's worth the revenue shift that would be required.  It'll pay for itself eventually in medical care not used.  Or just quality of life.  As a former smoker, I'm happy to pay whatever the lost tax revenue might be, knowing somebody might quit being addicted to that rotten chemical.

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

@gahnzo08 Great Point as i have made above.  It's the Democrat DFL way!  So all the Rubes here who think a tax on smokers, use taxes, taxes on the "RIch 1%," or any tax does not affect you in a very direct way is a fool.  

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

@SidVicious You mean like the tax on your phone, car, car tires, gas, cable, materials, bus, train (you prolly rely on public transpo) sales taxes and all of the other things that are a "choice" to you?  

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@_Joe_  Just keep at it. Don't ever decide, "I won't ever be able to do this."  Keep trying every possible solution, no matter how goofy.  Other than that, I wish there were an easy secret.  But there isn't.  Chantix helped me a lot. But it's scary.

thomas.m.crouse
thomas.m.crouse

@swmnguy @_Joe_ Could this be a SUPPORTIVE CP comments section? I approve! Anyone who quits/is quitting smoking deserves a fresh baked apple pie for breakfast every day.

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