By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new state tax went into effect on Monday, increasing the price of cigarettes.

Exiled to sidewalks and alcoves in the heat of summer and the dead of winter, smokers feel like they are targeted when the government needs more money.

“I guess, kind of, those things that are taboo in society. They feel like those are the people they can go after and get away with it,” said Jason Mignanelli, of Ross Township.

So up jump the prices for a pack of cigarettes, and it’s not a small jump either.

“Marlboros now are going for $7.62 a pack; yesterday, we were selling them for $6.40 a pack,” said Eric Sudziak, who works at Smoker Friendly.

That’s $1.20 more. And, if you want a carton, prepare to pay big time.

Sudziak says, “$76.20 for a carton of Marlboros, and some of the Camel non-filters are going for almost $100 a carton now.”

That’s about a $12 increase per carton.

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On the average carton of cigarettes, smokers are now paying:

  • Federal Tax – $10
  • State Excise Tax – $26
  • Master Settlement Agreement – $5
  • Sales Tax – $5
  • Total taxes – $46 per carton

 

The new increase has people thinking seriously about the future.

“It’s definitely enough to make you considering quit smoking,” said one smoker.

“I’m just not going to smoke anymore,” said another. “It costs too much money.”

Sue Harshbarger with St. Clair Hospital and Tobacco Free Allegheny tells the “KDKA Morning News” if you want to quit smoking the best thing to do is have, “a good quit plan.”

“I often find that people who wake up one morning or just decide they’re just going to quit and throw away that pack of cigarettes are often smoking again within 24 to 48 hours. So, one of the most important things is to develop that quit plan,” Harshbarger says. “When it comes down to it, quitting does take work.”

One of the reasons it is so hard for some to quit, says Harshbarger, is because it can take multiple attempts.

“What works for one person is not going to work for another…those past quit attempts are never failures, they’re always opportunities to learn,” says Harshbarger.

For more information on quitting smoking visit www.TobaccoFreeAllegheny.org