Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cigarettes Now $8.38 Per Pack In Anchorage, Alaska; Time For Alaskan Smokers To Quit En Masse And Screw Government Out Of Tax Revenue

Upon visiting one of the local Carr's supermarkets this evening, I found that the price of a pack of Marlboro Menthols had jumped from $7.43 to $8.38. The proprietor explained that this price increase was passed on by the manufacturer, Philip Morris. The proprietor also told me that another price increase would take effect on April 1st, driving the price per pack up to just under $9.00 per pack.

According to my research, the April 1st increase is in Federal taxes. Thanks to legislation signed by Barack Obama, the Federal excise tax on a pack of cigarettes will jump from 39 cents to $1.00. This would increase the present price of a pack of Marlboro Menthols to $8.99. It is, of course, illegal to have lower-cost cigarettes shipped in to Alaska by mail without paying the Alaska excise tax, and the Indian reservations who have been selling smokes by mail will report sales to the state, so you will be caught if you attempt to import them without paying the tax.

A cost of just under $9.00 per pack is absolutely insane. Nobody in his right mind should even think about how to pay for it. Instead, what you should be doing right now is to develop a strategy to quit, or at least seek a lower-cost substitute. This means nicotine gum (tastes vile), nicotine inhalers (require a prescription), or the patch.

The patch is a workable substitute. Don't buy the name brand patches like Nicoderm; they're over $50 per box. Instead, buy the generic brands sold at Wal-Mart, Target, and Fred Meyer (under the name of Kroger). A box of 14 patches at 21 mg (the highest amount of nicotine) will cost you around $35.00. One patch per day is sufficient. Consequently, by switching to the patch, you will reduce the cost of your habit from $8.99 per day (assuming you're a one pack per day smoker) to $2.50 per day.

The patch works; I've used it to curb cigarette desires at work. While you won't get the rush of a freshly-lit cigarette, you will get a continuous dose of nicotine that minimizes any cravings. You don't want to wear it in the shower, though. In addition, while I experienced no side effects, I did notice a slight rash in the area beneath the patch if I worked up a sustained sweat while wearing it. But the rash goes away in less than 24 hours, and you can always find another part of your body to apply a new patch.

For the more daring, there is a new technology emerging called the e-cigarette. It is, quite literally, an electronic cigarette. It has not been thoroughly vetted yet, but so far, no one has experienced any significant health problems as a result of its use. The e-cigarette is an electronic tube with several components, including a battery and and a replenishable cartridge of a nicotine solution. It emits no smoke, so it can technically be used in areas where smoking is not normally permitted. Initial start-up costs are as much as $150 for the unit, and a lesser price for a pack of replacement cartridges. More information on this product in Wikipedia as well as from a couple of prominent vendors, E-Cigarettes USA and E-Cig.org. After the initial outlay, use of this product could cut the cost of your habit to the equivalent of about $4.00 per day. Update: See March 13th CNN report on e-cigarettes HERE.

But here's why a bunch of us Alaskan smokers need to quit simultaneously on April 1st. If we quit one at a time, in dribs and drabs, the effect on tax revenues will be barely noticeable. But if at least 50 percent of us smokers in Anchorage, or even throughout Alaska, were to quit at once, the effect on tax revenues would be quite noticeable. It would be a sudden dip.

And that's the beauty of group action. We smokers now hold the balance of power. We have the capacity to financially screw the city and the state for all these tobacco tax increases they imposed upon us, and all the sanctimonious abuse heaped upon us over the years. We smokers have been treated like child molesters over the years. Now we can get payback, and with the added bonus of improving our health and saving money. Economic warfare? You bet!

In particular, I'd like to stick it to Assemblyman Dan Coffey. While the Assembly as a whole voted for all these anti-tobacco measures, I seem to recall that Dan Coffey was particularly obnoxious and arrogant towards us smokers. Well, fuck you, Coffey. Let's see how much you like having your property taxes go up because a sudden decline in tobacco revenue prevents you from paying for a particular pet program without an increase in property taxes. Let's see how much the rest of you non-smokers like having YOUR property taxes go up because you suddenly lose a lot of OUR tobacco tax revenue. And you'll have only yourselves to thank for killing the golden goose of tobacco.

Payback is going to be a financial bitch for the city and the state, but it will be sweet for us soon-to-be ex-smokers.

16 comments:

  1. I hear you. I started rolling my cigarettes a year ago. I should quit, and I definitely will if rolling my own gets as expensive as buying.

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  2. Holy crap, that's ridiculous! If you want to save money without quitting, just switch to an electronic cigarette. It comes out to $1.50 per pack for some brands. I found this blog really helpful when I was trying to figure out which e-cigarette to buy (I decided on the Luci e-cig. I love it!):

    http://greensmokes.blogspot.com

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  3. Oh, and I forgot to mention: You don't have to pay those ridiculously high tobacco taxes when you smoke electronic cigarettes. There's no downside!

    http://greensmokes.blogspot.com

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  4. I got the chantex pills and quit easily. Gave me some weird dreams though.

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  5. real protesters would lite up a joint and puff puff pass.

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  6. Based on the comments, I guess the natural progressions seems to be.

    1. Start smoking tobacco cigarettes 2. Start Rolling your own cigarettes 3. Invest In Electronic Cigarettes
    4. Quit Smoking

    Pretty much the road I took.

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  7. Electronic cigarettes seem like a good approach. I tried the Patch, but it didn't give me that whole hand to mouth sensation I needed. I would imagine that e-cigs would be better. Nicotine in general can affect your Heart Rate and should be monitored.

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  8. You can always buy your cigarettes online at cheapciggies.com, where those Marlboro Menthol's you mention would only cost $34.99 a carton. Best thing is you pay no tax on them, just $5.99 for shipping per order (not carton).

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  9. I love the E cigarette... I find it to be an amazing product.

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  10. What really cheeses me off if you try to buy "discount" cigs online: 1) you have to buy their stupid "buyer" license, at $25 a year if you don't buy from an AK authorized distributor... of course, they don't provide you with a list of distributors, just a list of cigarette manufacturers that are allowed to sell in AK because they comply with the stupid federal laws.
    2) If you do manage to find a distributor who is allowed to sell in AK, you don't need the Buyers license, but you still have to file return and pay them their ounce of flesh.
    3) Most authorized distributors are not offering discounted smokes... that's discounted before tax, like wholesale prices which would save you at least $10 on a carton even if you do have to pay the taxes.
    4) Taxing for personal consumption is just flippin' ludicrous. Sure, you want to sell them then you have to pay excise, but bloody hell if they are for personal consumption the Taxman should go f**k himself!
    5) The additional tax hike, hell all of the tax collected, doesn't even go toward smoking prevention or medical programs (because smoking is the only thing that causes cancer and all the damned smokers are sucking up the state's health budget, don't you know!! grrrrr)... no, the majority of the tax revenue goes to the general fund and smidgeon goes to school programs. WTF?!?!

    It's illegal/unconstitutional government taxation and theivery like this that really makes me hate being an American (and now an Alaskan) sometimes.

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  11. I know that smoking is not good for us...but damn....they sell it, advertise it and distribute it!!!! My father works for a shipping agency and big tobacco is the #1 client! I live in virginia and all I have seen since I was little was cigarette ads. I am a smoker trying to quit, but this government interference is ridiculous!!!!! You have alcohol, tobaccco and prescription drugs that are legal....and yet they are telling us it is "bad" for you. Then why the hell is it legal and sold on every corner? Does the government really think we are stupid? A revolution is coming...I just dont know when!!!! This happens to every civilization that gets a little to full of themselves! I just hope that I am not here for this one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it will be catastophic:|

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  12. And the government uses our tax money to subsidize the industry. Have you noticed how the government is encroaching on everything you do? the next attack is your weight...Maybe you should read Agenda21/Sustainable development and learn how they use this to gain control. Agenda 21 stands for the 21st century and Anchorage is a subscriber to it and its called Anchorage 2020. Even the Mayor gets green stars when he complies to it. Agenda21 is about your consumption pattern. Its about your private property and how you will use it by there standards......via the United Nations and our representatives are helping in giving up your rights to your property to foreign nations.

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  13. i STARTED SMOKING ELECTRONIC CIGS LAST SAT. Have not had a normal cig since, and no cravings. I think they are great. Best part..
    I sat and smoked it inside Sullivan Arena tonight during the Walking with dinosaurs show. If you get one, order the "Joye 510" get cartridges you fill, and order the liquide nicotine. Not the pre-filed cartridges, they aare a rip off. Less than $4 a day

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  14. The weight and size of the cartridges when compared to the weight and size of cartons of cigarettes being shipped to your local store is one factor. The fuel saved in the transport of these products could really add up. Joye 510

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  15. TAX FREE cigarettes shipped to your door at www.gotcheapsmokes.com Starting at $15.99 a carton.

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  16. Tax Free cigarettes and cigars starting at $15.99 a carton. www.gotcheapsmokes.com or call us at 716-780-7146 We ship direct to your door!

    ReplyDelete