Smokers frustrated by tax increase - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Smokers frustrated by tax increase

By Chip Washington - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

SOUTHAVEN, MS (WMC-TV) - Starting Friday, anyone buying cigarettes in Mississippi will pay 50 cents more per pack.

The tax increase, designed to combat the state's budget, was signed into law by Gov. Haley Barbour late Wednesday after a heated debate in the Mississippi legislature.

The increase is the first in Mississippi since 1985, and comes on the heels of a federal tobacco tax hike last month.

While some north Mississippi residents thought the increase would promote a healthier lifestyle, many smokers were frustrated.

"I thought it was ridiculous when they added a dollar tax to it and now the 50 cents is kinda pushing it," smoker Audrey Bernardini said. "I'm not very happy about it, and I am seriously considering quitting smoking."

While many smokers we spoke to were angry about the governor's decision, others said it would not be enough to make them quit smoking altogether.

In DeSoto County, both State Representative Ted Mayhall and State Senator Merle Flowers voted against the bill, saying it just promotes more big government.

The increase goes into effect Friday.

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