January 19, 2007
Roll 'em if you got 'em

Bummed out about that new cigarette tax that's burning a hole in your pockets, smokers? If you want to save a few bucks, why not try rolling your own?

Two weeks into the new tax, retailers have made a curious observation, smokers are rolling their own cigarettes to save money.

Smokers, it seems, have discovered it's cheaper to smoke 'em, if you roll 'em.

"Something they pay $4.70 or $5 a pack, they can roll their own for about $2.25 to $2.50," said Stacy Rumbo, the manager at The Humidor.

More and more of her customers are asking for cigarette making machines, she said.

"We're finding a lot of people are ready to learn the art of it before paying the higher price at supermarket," Rumbo said.

Link via Dig Deeper Texas. Now I know that in general rolling your own ciggies is cheaper than buying standard packs, but I'm curious: Did the Lege leave a loophole by not taxing unrolled cigarette tobacco? I'm pretty sure that other forms of non-cigarette tobacco - cigars and pipe tobacco, in particular - are exempt. If so, wouldn't it be a cruel little joke for the projected revenue from this new levy to fall far short of projections as more people discover the easy way around it? Sure, that can be fixed this session, but unless it's declared an emergency it'd mean we'd lose out on at least nine months' worth of revenue. Given that the surplus is more about unspent funds than increased collections, such a thing might actually sting. We'll see what happens.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 19, 2007 to Budget ballyhoo