MASURY, Ohio (WKBN) – Since Pennsylvania raised its cigarette tax ten days ago to $2.60, smokers say they’ve noticed the difference and are willing to travel for a cheaper price.
Pennsylvania now has the tenth highest surcharge in the country. Previously, it had been tied with Ohio as the 23rd highest.
Standard Market in Masury is getting some special attention from smokers who live in Pennsylvania. Cigarettes are now cheaper in Ohio, so Pennsylvania residents have been crossing the border to buy them.
“It has been, like, around at least more than 15 to 20 percent increase…on the cigarette sales,” said Sumid Agrawal with Standard Market.
He expects even more people later this month and figures they stocked up before the tax increase, but that stash will run out soon.
Pennsylvanians seem eager to climb the hill on Warren-Sharon Road to get to Standard Market.
“You save a lot of money. They’re almost $7 across the border. Come over here, and get them for five something,” Bill Moore said.
Kayla Cash agrees that it’s worth the drive since a pack is so much cheaper in Ohio.
“I paid $4.30 for a pack of cigarettes versus $8 for a pack of Marlboros,” she said.
Tobacco 4 Less just opened three months ago in Sharon. Now, it’s dealing with the tax hike which is disappointing to both the business and its customers.
“Traffic has been kind of the same, but we’ve seen people walk out. We’ve definitely had people come in, look at the price and decide that they’re going to go over the hill to Ohio,” Christopher Simmonds said.
For some, making the trip every day or even once or twice a week is too much.
“Just to save a nickel or two? Why spend all that time for your gas and your inconvenience?” Carl Adair said.
Most Pennsylvanians feel the tax increase is a money grab. They’re already tired of paying more than Ohioans for milk and gas, and now they also have to pay more for tobacco.
“I’m curious what they’re going to do with this extra money. I would like to know that, where that money is actually going and why it was needed,” Simmonds said.
The tax increase has led more people to buy tobacco at places where they can roll their own cigarettes. However, that will get a higher tax starting in October, and the state may also start charging more for e-cigarettes later this fall.