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Smokers Soon Will Burn More Money

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WILSON — Tobacco companies are making more of smokers' money go "up in smoke." Another price increase is on the way and smokers will be the ones to pay.

For the third time this year, major cigarette companies are raising their prices. Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds are hiking their rates about 14 cents a pack.

Most smokers assume the increase is to help recoup billions of dollars the companies lost to lawsuits.

"Tobacco companies, if they had to just tighten their belts a little bit like we have to do, it would work out a whole lot better," declares Glenn Evans.

Evans says enough is enough. He remembers cigarettes at just nine cents a pack.

He is weaning off now and plans to take up chewing gum as soon as he kicks the habit.

"I've got to stop smoking. Not only for my health, but I can't afford it anymore," he said. "It's a nice thing to do, but when you can't afford it anymore, it's time to look for something else."

He says lots of smokers would rather drop the habit instead of giving in to another price hike. The average price of name-brand cigarettes will go up to around $3.40 cents a pack. At a pack a day, that averages out to more than $1,200 a year.