Cigarette tax hike coming to Florida

By Al Pefley  email

West Palm Beach, FL (WFLX) - If you're a smoker in Florida, something is about to happen.

And watch out, because you're going to feel it in your wallet or purse. In about a week, buying a pack of cigarettes is going to cost you more money here in Florida.

This upcoming cigarette tax hike is the biggest of its kind in Florida history.

Florida smokers are being hit with a state tax hike that could leave some of them burning mad, or at least smoldering.

Starting July 1, a tax hike of $1.00 a pack goes into effect in the Sunshine  State.

Some convenience stores, such as a  7-11 in West Palm Beach on Southern Boulevard,  are posting signs  urging cigarette smokers to stock up now before the tax increase.

"I was actually with a friend of mine who's a chain-smoker and he's like, oh let me get as many packs as I want right now," said Mike Schaetzle of West Palm Beach.

Floridians who smoke were just hit with a federal tax hike in April, which added 62-cents to the cost of a pack of cigarettes.

Now, with cigarettes going up another dollar a pack, some smokers say enough already. Give us a break.

"Personally I think taxes are too high with everything, " said Schaetzle.

Others say they don't mind the $1.00 state tax increase, saying it may be just the incentive they need to finally quit smoking.

"I'm a smoker myself,  have been for 15 years, and I'd like to quit too and it's quite hard and I think with the money goin' up, it'll make it a little bit easier," said John Agueros of West Palm Beach.

While some say a dollar is a little steep, one smoker says he doesn't really have a problem with it.  "A dollar is not too much at all.  It should go up maybe a couple of more bucks actually.Just to make people quit.  Keep it out of the kids' hands, make it a little tougher for kids to get ahold of 'em," Agueros said.

The extra $1.00 tax on a pack of cigarettes is expected to bring in over $900 million annually in Florida, which will be used to pay for cancer research and offset Medicaid costs.

With this latest tax increase, it will push the price of cigarettes in Florida to $5.00 to $6.00 a pack depending on the brand.