Asalm Abdullah is the owner of Tobacco And More and starting January 1st he and other tobacco retailers will have to raise cigarette prices significantly. A one dollar sales tax is being tacked on to every pack of cigarettes sold in the state of Texas and in South Dakota.
Abdullah has already posted a sign in his store signs to make his customers aware of the prices that their cigarettes will soon cost. The cigarette tax increase was approved by the Texas Legislature through House Bill Five.
The extra money generated by the additional tax will be used to fund Texas public schools. Abdullah said some customers feel targeted.
"They think that they are being penalized as a smoker," Abdullah said.
To lessen the financial impact of the cigarette tax, some of Tobacco And More customers are stocking up now. Abdullah said several of his patrons have told him they probably wouldn't be back in store until April, May, or June.
Buying in bulk now is good for business, but Abdullah says both sellers and smokers of cigarettes will definitely feel the money pinch.
"It's going to affect our business in the beginning, come January," Abdullah said. "But we'll see what happens."
Smokers in Texas may not like the dollar tax, but they might consider themselves fortunate. In New Jersey, smokers pay the highest cigarette tax, two dollars and 58 cents.