Oklahoma smokers react to new cigarette tax hike

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OKLAHOMA CITY- On Sunday, July 1, the new tax hikes laid passed by the Oklahoma legislature took effect.

The taxes were laid out in House Bill 1010xx.

That bill was part of the historic tax package passed last legislative session, part of which will go to fund teacher pay raises.

Part of that tax package was a tax hike of one dollar per pack of cigarettes.

"Yesterday actually was a long day,” said Rex Rogers, manager of the Conoco at NE 63rd and Kelley.

Rogers started Saturday night and worked into the early hours of Sunday, changing all the prices on his packs of cigarettes.

"I had to go and rebrand everything and then that took a lot of time, reprogram the computer and I knew that was fun. It took me almost all day,” said Rogers

The dollar increase caught some customers off guard.

"I still tell people I say you know cigarette price went up. Say what? Yes, how much. A dollar. A dollar a pack! I'm not going to buy any,” said Rogers.

Some smokers said it will affect their decision to buy.

"It's only a dollar but you know it is a dollar. Sometimes I buy a different pack of cigarettes just because they're a dollar cheaper than the ones I want. So a dollar will be a difference, yes,” said Tony Muhs.

Others say they’ll continue to light up and some smokers even said they think this is a good thing for our state.

"I'm ok with it really because you know it causes a lot of health problems, costs a lot of money. So I don't really have an issue with them going up,” said Bruce Willson.

Still, other smokers say the price hike might affect their decision to finally kick the habit.

'It's kind of high, expensive. I'm trying to quit, I'm trying to cut back. So hopefully I'll quit sometime soon,” said Don Ingram.

"Yes, they added the tax. Yes, it's supposed to go and help the teachers. And I hope it does. But the people that it really affects are the lower income and middle-class people. And these people they're hooked on cigarettes. And maybe it will help them to quit, maybe it won't help them to quit,” said Rogers.

Rogers said his store was very busy on Saturday with people stocking up on cigarettes right before the tax hike took effect.

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