Smokers will be paying $2.75 per pack in state taxes, a jump from the previous tax of $1.50. Before the new tax, the average price of a pack of cigarettes was $5.82 statewide, and about $8 a pack in New York City, which levies its own taxes.
In response to the new tax, Jim Calvin, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores had this to say: "The tax increase is only going to feed that epidemic. More and more smokers in New York state are going to abandon our stores that have to charge the tax and shift their purchases to places that don't charge the tax, most notably Native American stores, the Internet and bootleggers.''Being the inquisitive type, I decided to do a little research. I did a Google search of "purchase cigarettes online". Now, I wasn't overly surprised when 208,000 results showed up. I was, however surprised at the number of sites offering extremely low-cost tobacco products. One site
has Marlboro for $12.90 per carton, somewhat less than the $50+ you'll pay at Tops.
Another site offers Camel cigarettes for $13.05 per carton. They are European Camels, but most smokers won't care.
Of course, those of us who live in Niagara County know that we have an Indian reservation that offers tobacco products at en even lower cost smack-dab in the middle of the county. There are also reservations around Syracuse and on Long Island.
So will raising the cig tax $1.25 bring in the anticipated additional $265 million a year that the state is projecting? I'm going to go out on a limb and say no, but I will predict that Smokin' Joe Anderson has another billion in his bank account before too long.