In Minn. border towns, smokers weigh options

ALBERT LEA, Minn. (AP) — Drive further or ditch the smoking habit? That’s the choice confronting border-town smokers seeking to avoid paying a higher cigarette tax in Minnesota.

Iowa convenience shops are reporting a slight uptick in sales since Minnesota boosted its per-pack tax by $1.60 on July 1, the Albert Lea Tribune (http://bit.ly/16eo6Z5 ) reported this week. One store operator says she’s selling 20 to 25 more cartons per week.

Iowa’s tax on cigarettes is $1.36 per pack — less than half the $2.83 now charged in Minnesota.

A Minnesota law restricts residents from bringing more than one carton of cigarettes from another state.

Other cost-conscious smokers are choosing instead to quit. The nonprofit ClearWay Minnesota says it has seen a surge of visits to its website and calls to its QuitPlan Services hotline.

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Information from: Albert Lea Tribune, http://www.albertleatribune.com

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