NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The price of cigarettes is going up in Tennessee, but the proceeds won’t be landing in state tax coffers.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that under a new law signed by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, the minimum markup on cigarettes – which retailers say covers the “cost of doing business” – will rise from 41 cents on each pack of cigarettes to 76 cents per pack over the next two years.
That 85 percent increase in the markup is projected to direct $129 million into retailers’ bottom lines by the third year of the law. It’s the first change in the state’s cigarette markup in 65 years.
Tennessee is among 25 states that enacted similar laws largely between the 1940s and 1960s to protect smaller retailers from competition.