Report: Cigarette sales down, tax haul up in Minn.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — As tobacco sellers feared, Minnesota’s increased tax on cigarettes has dampened sales since taking effect on July 1.

Minnesota Public Radio News reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/1dKIgyE ) that early Department of Revenue figures show a double-digit percentage fall in demand for the stamps affixed to each pack of cigarettes over the same period last year. The stamps are proof that state taxes have been paid. Wholesalers and retailers pin the dip on the extra $1.60 per pack tax, especially in border towns.

The department reports that tax collections are up anyway, though they are slightly lagging projections used when lawmakers built the tax increase into their newly enacted state budget.

Anti-smoking groups say the higher cigarette tax is having its intended effect: Getting people to consider quitting.

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