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CONCORD, N.H. -- The state legislature is considering raising New Hampshire's cigarette tax by 45 cents a pack to help patch a $650 million revenue gap. If the bill passes, the state’s tax would be $1.78 per pack, the Eagle Tribune reported.
New Hampshire would remain the cheapest state in New England to buy cigarettes even if lawmakers pass the 45-cent increase, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. However, the gap would be narrowed.
A special House-Senate committee agreed to the 45-cent increase last Wednesday.
The state line has a lot of convenience stores, including ones that cater specifically to cigarette smokers who travel from Massachusetts to avoid the Bay State's levy of $2.51 per pack.
Joe Macaro, manager at Cigarette City on Route 28 in Salem, N.H., saw firsthand how customers changed their smoking habits since the New Hampshire tax increased 25 cents a pack last year. Some people are buying fewer cartons, or they're buying uncut tobacco and rolling their own cigarettes, the report stated.
"It's ridiculous," Macaro said in the report. "Tax something else. They should just tax everyone's grocery bill instead. I don't smoke, so it doesn't affect me personally. But it does affect my job somewhat."
New Hampshire may not find out until Wednesday—when the state budget is voted on—whether the cigarette tax increase passes, the report stated.
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