The Soaring Cost of Smoking

By: Sarah Sager Email
By: Sarah Sager Email

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- While smokers know their habit is expensive, cigarette prices are only going up.

The average West Virginian smoked more than 570 packs in 2009 -- that amounts to more than $2,000 a year.’s Sarah Sager spoke with a local cigarette retail store employee about what he sees on a daily basis and ways smokers are looking to save.

David McDowell works as a salesperson at Cigs Cheaper in downtown Huntington.

“Our main business is cigarettes," McDowell said.

With a drive-through window and walk-in store, he estimates 200 to 300 customers come in for cigarettes everyday. At more than $3 a pack, that's a lot of money.

The economic downturn means stores like Cigs Cheaper are seeing customers find ways to save and still smoke. They’re also crossing state borders to get their favorite products for less.

"In Ohio, they are a dollar more a pack than they are here,” McDowell said. “The taxes are higher there. So, everybody that's over here -- anyway, they're going to stop over here and save money. Years ago Kentucky was cheaper. Everybody went to Kentucky, but now their taxes are just the same as ours."

According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, by the year 2039 a pack of cigarettes is expected to cost $14.70. From now until that time, a smoker is likely to have spent almost $120,000 on cigarettes.

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