Tennessee Smokers Run for the Border

By: Courtney Lassiter Email
By: Courtney Lassiter Email

A cigarette tax hike in Tennessee prompts smokers to buy in Kentucky.

The 42 cent-a-pack raise is causing Tennessee smokers to fork over almost $5 a pack.

The money from the cigarette tax hike will fund health care and education in Tennessee.

The legislation went into effect on July 1, 2007, but many businesses across the border are seeing a big boom in business.

Trixon Stables at Franklin, Kentucky's Flying J gas station is busy these days.

"They're coming across state lines," Trixon said. "We've seen, recently, people buy four, five, six cartons at a time."

Smokers can save almost $5 a carton buying cigarettes in Kentucky. We did the math and can put it into perspective for you.

If you buy a pack in Tennessee you pay two and a half cents more per cigarette. If you smoke a pack a day you're paying roughly $200 more a year.

"Tennessee has really screwed it's own people," upset employee, P.J. Johnson said. "Tennesseans that live in the middle of the state that don't live around borders they have to put up with increase prices."

Fortunately for Johnson, she's close enough to the Kentucky border, the taxes don't bother her.

"We all go over the border especially to Kentucky to buy food and cigarettes," Johnson said.

"Kentucky has cheap tax on cigarettes to begin with and with our neighboring states raising taxes - they come here," Trixon said.

Last year Tennessee collected $125 million in cigarette taxes.
The state is hoping to collect more than 200 million this year.

Experts said neighboring states can only benefit from the Tennessee tax hike as Kentucky is projected to see 15 percents increase in cigarette sales.


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