Little River cigarette retailers give a thumbs down to tax hike

LITTLE RIVER – South Carolina raised its cigarette tax Thursday after the state senate overrode the governor’s Tuesday veto of a 50-cents-per-pack cigarette tax increase.

Supporters of the tax said it will actually save or even create 2000 jobs because of the $120 million that will be spent on Medicaid.

The state currently has the lowest tax in the nation at just 7-cents a pack.

With the new hike going into effect July 1 some cigarette and tobacco retailers in Little River near highway 90 East said they are afraid they will lose their customer base to the close state line of North Carolina where the cigarette tax is at 45-cents-per-pack.

“They are not going to drive from Charleston to cross the state line but in Little River here people are going to drive the state line in Calabash,“ said Sykes Wilford, president of Low Country Pipe & Cigar, “They probably are already in calabash twice a week and they are just going look at cigarette prices on the shelf in Calabash and cigarette prices here and they’re going to be lower across the state line and they are going to start buying over there.“

South Carolina will still be tied for 42nd on the list of state’s cigarette taxes. Now it will be 57cents-per-pack while the national average is $1.41.


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