Smokeless nicotine

Tax hike may send smokers across border

The State Line Station is stocking up on cigarettes for an expected surge in smoker Smokeless nicotine demand when South Dakota’s

$1-a-pack tax hike takes effect Monday.

Store manager Kathy Drentlaw unloaded a shipment of tobacco products Friday to prepare for an increase in sales to South Dakotans expected to cross the border to save money on the tobacco products they smoke or chew.

She has another shipment on the way, which is expected to arrive from Denver when the weather clears.

“I’ve tripled (orders) on some brands. And we’ve had a lot of phone calls from Lead, Belle Fourche, Sturgis, asking us to carry some brands if we don’t,” Drentlaw said. “We’ve already ordered in two brands we didn’t have.”

Drentlaw figures South Dakota’s loss will be State Line’s gain, not only for tobacco sales but for other items as well.

“It’ll be a big boost – gas and snacks, and hopefully, they’ll see what great souvenirs we have and start buying those also,” she said.

The increased tobacco tax approved by state voters Nov. 7 takes effect Monday. It will add $1 to the existing 53-cent state tax on a regular pack of 20 cigarettes and increase the tax from 10 percent to 25 percent on the wholesale price of other tobacco products.

Supporters of the tax increase said it would raise $40 million for state programs and programs to discourage tobacco use and help users quit.

The tax increase, which would drive up the cost of cigarettes, is also designed to encourage some smokers to quit.

Opponents say it unfairly targets tobacco users, is likely to reduce state revenues, increases cigarette bootlegging and purchases in other states and will do little to reduce smoking rates among South Dakotans.

Patrons and employees at Thrifty Smoke Shop on St. …