Months after approving a $2 cigarette tax hike, prices are officially going up April 1 in California, and some local stores are noticing an effect already.
According to some Sacramento stores ABC10 News reached out to, locals have been in and out since November stocking up on cartons and packs in hopes it'll lead to saving money in the long run.
One official from a local Sam's Club said the store has seen at least a 30 percent sales increase in March alone.
Some smaller stores, like A&P Liquors in Midtown, have seen a small boost in sales leading up to the increase, "but not much more than usual."
ABC10's Ananda Rochita asked some smokers who were waiting in line to stock up, if the price increase would stop them from buying cigarettes.
"It won't stop me, but it will be quite a deterrent," said Michael Hicks, a smoker. "Everything else, every other bad habit I've given up."
The cost is forcing Pam Gould to stop smoking.
"I'm quitting cause that's crazy," said Gould. "It's just an entertainment thing anyway."
While cost may not be a factor, there's always something else.
"It would be my health that's the only thing," said Scorpio Davis. "Money is gonna come and go.
Proposition 56, the measure that voters approved 64 percent to 36 percent, will increase the per-pack sales tax from $0.87 to $2.87. The new price puts California in the top 10 in the country for cigarette taxes, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Before the increase, the state was ranked No. 37.
Top 10 State Cigarette Tax Rates as of April 1, 2017
- New York: $4.35
- Connecticut: $3.90
- Rhode Island: $3.75
- Massachusetts: $3.51
- Hawaii: $3.20
- Vermont: $3.06
- Minnesota: $3.04
- Washington: $3.25
- California: $2.87
- New Jersey: $2.70
According to state officials, the tax is estimated to bring in $1 billion to $1.4 billion in revenue, most of which will be allocated to increase funding for the Medi-Cal health care program for low income residents, as well as tobacco prevention programs and tobacco-related disease research among other things.
Backers of the increase noted that the tax will only hit those who buy and use cigarettes.
California’s smoking rate is about 12 percent, the second lowest in the country next to Utah, according to the Department of Public Health.