SACRAMENTO -- Smokers and the businesses that serve them are gearing up for a major tax hike.
Starting Saturday, the price of cigarettes increases by $2 a pack. The price of all other tobacco products is going up as well.
Land Park’s Cigarettes and Tobacco store has only been open a few months. Inside they are still stocking their shelves, but most of the new merchandise is glassware for marijuana use. It’s part of their plan to focus less on tobacco and more on marijuana since with the imminent tax increase they are already seeing people buying less tobacco.
For example, one shopper who only wanted to be identified as “Nancy” told FOX40 she plans to stop smoking after Saturday, and she’s not necessarily happy about it. Though she has been wanting to quit, as of April 1, she feels she’ll be forced to do so.
“There’s simply no way I could afford to continue smoking it would cut into groceries, and that’s not acceptable,” said Nancy.
Effective April 1, the cigarette tax in California more than triples from $.87 cents to $2.87 meaning every posted cigarette price will go up by at least two dollars. It’s an unwelcome April Fool’s joke of sorts to customers who hadn’t heard the news yet.
While some smokers who spoke to FOX40 were preparing to cut back, others were stocking up on cartons for the short term and planning to figure out the rest later.
Staff at Cigarettes and Tobacco said they have had an increase in customers buying cartons of cigarettes.
Cigarette smokers aren’t the only ones affected. April 1, e-cigarette products containing nicotine will start to be taxed in the same way as other nicotine products like cigars and chewing tobacco, at a rate of 27.3 percent of wholesale costs.
Then, July 1, the price of all non-cigarette nicotine products from vaping juice to loose tobacco to cigarillos will increase to be in line with that of the cigarette tax.
“I agree with it mainly for teenagers, 18- to 21-year-olds, athletes, it discourages them from smoking, so I agree with it,” said Kristin Dauphine
Although she says she has no plans to quit smoking, Dauphine doesn’t oppose the tax, and she’s not the only one.
Collin Winget said he voted for Prop 56, the November ballot initiative that brought the tax about.
“It results in higher health care costs and higher costs to our community, I’m fine with paying a tax on it,” he said.
California has one of the lowest cigarette taxes it the country, more than 80 cents below the national average of $1.63. With the implementation of this tax, California will have the ninth highest statewide tax rate in the country. New York is first at $4.35.