Tobacco Users Beware: Smoking Can Be Hazardous to Your Wealth 

If you purchase tobacco products, get ready to shell out a lot more money at the store.Starting in April, the tax on some of those items will go up by as much as 22-hundred percent.”We’re the ones that keep getting hit.”Robert Loch is a smoker. He says while he understands the country’s in dire financial straits, he doesn’t agree with continually increasing the tax on tobacco products to help make up for it. the latest hike could be the biggest yet. Starting April first, the federal tax on cigarettes will go from 39 cents to a dollar and a penny.But it doesn’t stop there. “All the tobacco…cigars, roll your own, cigarette tobacco.”Frank Coglitore owns the Cigar and Smoke Shoppe in Bangor. He says the roll-your-own tobacco will be hardest hit. “A one-pound bag of tobacco will go from $16 up to $55. How do you think customers will react to that? How would you react? It’s absolutely insane!” “I believe it’s somewhere in the 2200 percent increase.” “I actually thought it was a joke. I couldn’t believe it could ever go that high. But it has.”Coglitore says if the increases continue, he and others like him could be forced out of business. The new tax revenue will help fund the federal children’s health insurance program. While he appreciates the need for healthcare coverage, Coglitore doesn’t think it’s fair a minority group like smokers are paying the price.”I think it’d be great if we went after a larger industry like the hamburger industry, then we’d be able to tax everybody instead of a minority tobacco industry where there really aren’t that many people who do smoke.”As for Robert Loch, he says he’s tired of smokers being penalized for their choices. “I think it’s ridiculous. If they want to smoke, they should be able to without worrying about being taxed or if they want to smoke cigarettes or tobacco…that’s their choice. The government’s just looking for ways to pull money out of nowhere.”