indiana smokers head south for cigarettes

Tax hike pushes smokers to Kentucky for cheaper products.

Hoosier smokers will have to pay more for their cigarettes. A new Indiana law went into effect Sunday that boosts the price.

It’s always been cheaper in Kentucky. Indiana’s cigarette tax was 55 cents a pack. Now that’s it’s jumped to 99 cents, many more smokers are headed south and businesses in border towns like Evansville are concerned.

Store clerks across Indiana have become the bearers of bad news about the new price of cigarettes. Cigarettes may be more expensive statewide, but Evansville residents have the option of driving just a few extra miles to Kentucky to save on their smokes, according to WFIE, an NBC affiliate.

“It’s forcing a lot of them to go to Kentucky to buy their cigarettes,” said Karen Kulemkamp, manager of Drone’s convenience store in Evansville. “Hopefully it won’t hurt our business much, but you never know.”

It may be some time before stores notice a big shift in customers, but there are already signs many Evansville smokers will make the trek to Henderson for the Kentucky taxed cigarettes. And they plan on stocking up to save on trips.

Amy Schiff with Marina Pointe Tobacco said, “I’m sure it’ll pick up because a lot of people have said Indiana’s gone up, so it’ll just be a matter of time.”

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