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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Students unfazed by hike in smoking tax

    Pharmacy senior Scott Kirkeby, left, and psychology senior Alan Magata smoke cigarettes after work yesterday afternoon on University Boulevard. Cigarette prices have increased due to Propositions 201 and 203, which went into effect May 1.
    Pharmacy senior Scott Kirkeby, left, and psychology senior Alan Magata smoke cigarettes after work yesterday afternoon on University Boulevard. Cigarette prices have increased due to Propositions 201 and 203, which went into effect May 1.

    Though cigarette prices have jumped in the past four months, some students say the increase is not enough to force them to quit.

    “”It doesn’t really affect me,”” said Melissa Thomas, a psychology sophomore. “”I smoke a pack a day, and they (the prices) are not high enough yet.””

    Arizona’s cigarette tax is the fourth highest in the country, according to the Arizona Department of Revenue. With the passage of Propositions 201 and 203 last year, which added an additional $0.82 per pack, the tax per pack of 20 cigarettes is now $2.

    The new laws took effect May 1, and revenue from Prop. 203 will go toward improving health care for low-income children.

    Bronson West, a psychology sophomore who smokes a pack a week, said he thought smokers are being unfairly targeted.

    “”They could go for a lot of different ways to fund low-income children besides charging smokers who have a bad habit,”” West said. “”What about alcoholics?””

    Michael Wood, a district sales representative for Philip Morris, said he didn’t think using tax increases to urge people to quit showed foresight.

    “”I don’t think it’s good policy,”” Wood said. “”I think you’re putting an unfair tax burden on a very small section of adults. People will find other ways to buy cigarettes.””

    Emily Jones, a journalism junior, has found another way to buy cigarettes: purchasing loose tobacco and cigarette papers.

    “”Price has definitely played a part,”” she said. “”I’m a starving student like everyone else.””

    She said she saves around $5 a pack by rolling her own cigarettes. Though she smokes fewer cigarettes now that she rolls her own, she said won’t be quitting anytime soon.

    Wood said he wasn’t surprised that students aren’t quitting, adding that the most compelling reason to quit is to improve one’s health.

    “”Pricing is a factor that plays into that, but not as much as you may think,”” Wood said. “”When prices go up smokers say they’ll quit, but that’s not enough.””

    Although some students say they will not quit smoking anytime soon, West said he recognizes the health risks and knows he might need to quit in the future.

    “”If they keep raising prices I’m going to stop,”” West said. “”I ain’t no millionaire.””

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