EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 7, 2013

Tobacco tax hike plans raise concerns

Tobacco tax proposals concern smokers, store owners

(Continued)

Chris Matte, owner of Ace Discount Cigarettes at 30 Bridge St. in Pelham, said he’s worried a tobacco tax increase would hurt his sales. The store also sells cigars, beer and soda, and Massachusetts’ residents represent about 90 percent of its business, Matte said.

“I think now is not the time,” Matte said. “With gas prices so high, people just can’t afford it. We’re worried about it. I feel New Hampshire would make more money if they just left it alone.”

Ace customer George Patrikas, 65, of Windham said tobacco tax increases over the last several years prompted him to start rolling his own cigarettes to save money. He no longer spends $55 for a carton of cigarettes, but said he would still buy beverages at the store.

Frank Sergi, 54, of North Andover, a customer at Stateline Paysaver on South Broadway in Salem, said he stocks up on cigarettes in New Hampshire whenever he visits the area, but usually doesn’t buy much of anything else.

Karima Sahraoui, 18, of Methuen crossed the border to pick up a drink and a pack of cigarettes. She doesn’t expect the tax increase would affect her spending habits, but she isn’t happy about it.

“Twenty cents now, 20 cents next time, another 20 cents later,” she said.

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