The recent cigarette tax hike has bumped the price of smokes up to more than $10 a pack in some USA states. Smoking it’s an expensive habit that can rob you blind if you don’t maintain a keen eye on your finances. Some smoker give up, others just want cheaper smokes. So, if you absolutely must smoke, here are some ways to light up for less, without breaking the law.
1: Go Generic
You can’t get away from state and local cigarette taxes, but you can smoke a cheaper cigarette. According to Darryl Jayson, vice president of the Princeton, N.J.-based Tobacco Merchant’s Association, consumers can shave as much as 10% off the cost of a pack when they buy generic brands such as GPC (Stock Quote: RAI) and Basic (Stock Quote: MO). Generic cigarettes are produced by the big cigarette manufacturers like R.J. Reynolds, but marketed as discounted brands.
2: Find a Discount Tobacco Shop
Certain stores and shopping centers offer discounts to club members. For instance, you may obtain cigarette cartons for a few prices lower than MSRP at Sam’s Club, but only if you are a member. Meanwhile, gas stations like Murphy USA and Kangaroo sometimes offer specials, such as $1.00 off a purchase of two packs. You’ll need to check with your local gas station to determine whether such a deal is available.
Although it may be convenient to go pick up a pack of cigarettes from a Safeway (Stock Quote: SWY) a tobacco store such as Smoker Friendly may be better for your wallet.
3: Consider Outlet Brands
Most cigarette outlets are located in states with lower cigarette taxes such as Virginia, North Dakota and South Carolina (which, FYI, has the lowest cigarette taxes in the country).
At outlet stores (locations in 33 states can be found online) consumers can find low-cost, independent alternatives to major brands like Newport (Stock Quote: LO) and Winston (Stock Quote: RAI). Instead, smokers might choose Quincys, made by the Blue Grass Tobacco Co., or Select Ones, produced by the Buymor Corporation.
4: Buy in Bulk Online
Numerous online e-commerce shops offer cigarettes at discount prices. They import brand name cigarettes from other country for ultra-cheap and then retail them back to American users at reduced prices. The key factor to keep in mind, however, is that these cigarettes many not really be produced by your favorite brand. Although the cigarette pack may be labeled as Marlboro, there’s a possibility that it’s a fake. That said, cheap online cigarettes tend to be poor in quality, though they still get the job done. Below are a few sample sites from which to choose.
And since pries online are always changing, make sure to keep your eyes open for a sudden hot deal. A recent example: A carton of Marlboro Reds purchased from BigIndianTobacco.com cost $45.99. On Hot-Cigs.biz had an even deeper discount: A carton of Marlboro Reds for as little as $24.30. (However, you must pay for shipping to take advantage of the deal.)
5: Cigarette Coupons
One easy way to save money on cigarettes is by signing up with your favorite cigarette brand. For instance, if you log in to Marlboro.com, you can routinely order free coupons for either $1.00 off a pack or $4.00 off a carton. This tactic works especially well for smokers who don’t subscribe to any particular brand. By signing up with Marlboro, Newport, Camel and other brands, you can keep a steady assortment of coupons flooding your inbox.
6: Native American Reservations
The federal government taxes cigarettes so as to try to encourage smokers to quit. Plus, a certain amount of proceeds from the taxes are directed toward other stop-smoking campaigns. The good news is that these taxes do not apply to Indian reservations, meaning you may obtain cigarettes from stores located on reservations without paying any pesky federal taxes. However, you will likely still have to pay state-level taxes. Regardless, below is a list of some of the tribes from which you may obtain cigarettes. You will need to visit some of them in person to purchase cigarettes, while others offer cigarette sales through an online portal.
- Allegany Indian Reservation (New York): This tribe retails cigarettes through Salamanca Cigarette Outlet, but you may also purchase them directly by visiting the shop at 580 East State Street, Salamanca, NY 14779.
- Cattaraugus Indian Reservation (New York): A family from this tribe operates a store at Tax Free Cigarettes, but feel free to swing by at 12663 Route 438, Irving, NY 14081.
- Poospatuck Reservation (New York): This tribe operates the Peace Pipe Smoke Shop at 9 Squad Ln, Mastic, NY 11950.You’ll need to swing by in person to purchase cigarettes.
- Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation (Idaho): This tribe operates Fightin Creek, an online shop containing fireworks and discount cigarettes. You may look at their products online, but you’ll need to visit them at 23181 S. Hwy 95, Goeur D Alene, ID 83814 or call 1-866-51-SMOKE to place an order.
- Eastern Cherokee Indian Reservation (North Carolina): This tribe offers custom cigarettes, as well as a free brand cigarettes, at its online store, Cherokee Tobacco. You cannot place an order online, but you may contact them for further information at 866-482-2760.
Of course, there’s one unspoken alternative. You could just quit smoking altogether or try an electronic cigarette. It would save you the most money, as well as years off your life. In case this just isn’t an option, then at least take the time to pursue cheap cigarettes, because there’s no reason to squander your money on unnecessary fees and taxes.
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