Convenience stores in south Florida report that sales of cigarettes have declined as much as 30 percent since a new state tobacco tax went into effect, the Fort Myers News-Press reported Aug. 5.
The tax has bumped the price of a pack of cigarettes in Florida to more than $6.
“People are cutting down. They’re trying to make a pack last longer,” said gas station convenience store owner Sue Burbar. “One of my employees goes outside, smokes a half of a cigarette, puts it out and then finishes the rest later.” Other smokers are quitting or buying cigarettes online or across the border in Alabama and Georgia to dodge the tax.
Florida officials are still expecting more annual revenues from the cigarette tax despite reports of sales declines.