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Looming MN Cigarette Tax Hike Spurs Buying Frenzy

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A big jump in the state’s cigarette tax is still more than two weeks away, but it’s already having a huge impact on smokers. They’re stocking up and changing their habits.

During the noontime rush inside Super Smokedale Tobacco in Oakdale, folks like Bill Gardner are hoarding cartons upon cartons of cigarettes – buying a dozen or more cartons at a time.

But stocking up on a product priced at over $52 per carton isn’t cheap. On just this one visit, Bill will fork over $683.60 to the store cashier.

Gardner and other customers are buying enough cigarettes to last them months.

The simple explanation is starting July 1, the Minnesota cigarette tax will jump by $1.60 per pack.

“Oh, I have no problem with the tax. But the price is going up, so if you can, you buy at the bottom price,” Gardner said.

The increase will make Minnesota cigarettes the highest taxed in the five-state area. Once the tax takes effect, it will make Minnesota cigarettes 31-cents more expensive than in Wisconsin and it will cost $2.39 more per pack than North Dakota.

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