Smokers cough up 50 cents more per pack today

Image by Flickr user Justin Shearer

Heads up smokers, today is the day that South Carolina's 50 cents-per-pack increase goes into effect.

Several retailers around the Lowcountry reported cartons of cigarettes flying off the shelves yesterday as smokers tried to brace themselves for the new price to puff.

Read more stories on this subject in our cigarette tax topic page.

The tax increase is the first state tax hike on cigarettes in 33 years, and lawmakers had fought Sanford's vetoes for a decade before they got enough votes to overturn and gain approval. The tax increase is designed to pay for $125 million in state-run health care programs for low-income residents and $5 million each for smoking cessation and cancer research.

If 57 cents per pack (the new tax after the increase) sounds high to you, consider this: On average, state cigarette taxes add $1.45 per pack. South Carolina's state tax of 57 cents per pack comes in as the 42nd in the nation.

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