SAM BECKER, Opinion Editor
Beloit smokers worth their weight in nicotine know that Beloit College is in close proximity to discount smoke shops just over the border in Illinois. While Wisconsin’s cigarette tax has hovered around $2.52 recently, the Illinois tax has been at a low 98 cents. Combined with competitive discounts given at shops just over the border, cigarettes prices have been at a record low.
Thanks to Illinois lawmakers, that’s all over now. In an effort to cut back on teen smokers and fund Medicaid have the state tax on cigarettes has been raised $1. While this action is designed to raise $350 million in revenue to offset the state’s $2.7 billion deficit, many believe that the potential profit will be diminished as cigarette shoppers are driven to shop in other states. Most relevant to those on the sellers located at the borders. Local Cigarette experts, the boys at The Smoke Shop say that “business has been very slow” but they do not feel that their south of the border operation “will see a loss in business from Wisconsin smokers… We still have cheaper cigarettes.” With the decrease in cigarette sales, shops are compensating with their profit margin on every pack of cigarettes. In general the result is the perception of much more expensive cigarettes than Beloiters are used to. “It’s just not worth it to walk all the way to The Smoke Shop anymore,” said John Jefferys White‘15.
The effect that this will have on Beloit smoking culture is up for question. Will addictions be cemented in imported cartons from Missouri? Will students be able to afford their teenage rebel fantasies? Or will people just say fuck it, cut back, and buy their cigs at Walgreens?