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Cigarette tax increase

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TYLER (KYTX) - The price of cigarettes may get even higher soon. Bloomberg reports a cigarette tax hike is expected to be in President Obama's 2014 budget proposal Wednesday.

"I mean, who would want to pay $8 for a pack of cigarettes? That's outrageous. It really is."

As outrageous as it is, 25-year-old Paul Yvon continues to shell out money to support his smoking addiction.

"It's not that I'm not ready to quit. It's just that it's very hard to quit. And, once you get into the habit of smoking, it's very hard to change. It really is." says Yvon.

But, he says if prices go up again, that may just be the push he needs to stop.

"I do think about it every time I spend money on them."

That's money store manager Ebaristo Torres relies on to keep his doors open. He says there's a chance another cigarette tax hike could affect profits.

"Because the customer might not smoke as much. They'll smoke less, so we'll sell less tobacco, which is a big part of our business."

But he's seen what's happened in the past when the price goes up, and he's not that worried.

"I just think if the price goes up, the customer's not going to stop smoking, they're just going to buy a different brand- a cheaper brand."

"It hasn't stopped me from smoking yet." says 29-year-old Andrea Rahmaan.

She says as frustrating as it is to pay so much money for cigarettes, it would take a lot for her to quit.

"If the price got up to like $5 more, I'd probably stop. That would be too much."

"Here goes another dollar down the drain." says Yvon. 

His limit isn't that high... He's hoping a new tax increase will be enough of an incentive to get people to quit.

"I mean, I'd like to see a lot less people smoking. It'd be a healthier community. You wouldn't walk around and see a lot more cigarette butts on the ground and stuff like that."

He's hoping he can finally quit this time too.

Anti-smoking agencies praised the president's proposal on a cigarette tax increase.

Those in the tobacco industry aren't happy about it though. They argue the tax would be unfair to low and middle-class Americans.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, tobacco-related health care costs total $96 billion per year in the U.S.

President Obama outlined this cigarette tax increase in his State of the Union address. The taxes would fund a pre-K program for four-year-olds.

Bloomberg reports the president is looking to increase spending in areas such as education, while Republican lawmakers are pushing for additional budget cuts as a way to reduce the federal deficit.

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