A taxing habit: students shelling out extra dough for butts

By on October 31, 2002

One can find many smokers like junior Alexandra Chuba in front of the Commons in “the smoking area.”
The mass communications and acting major holds a cigarette in her hand and sporadically takes drags. The high prices of cigarettes these days have affected her.
“The only way they’d get me to quit is if they were ten dollars a pack,” said Chuba.
The taxes on cigarettes continue to rise all across America. The tobacco industry, along with the government, is working to try to end the problem with youths and smoking. They are hoping that high prices will deter young people from starting or continuing to smoke.
Connecticut currently taxes $1.11 on each pack of cigarettes, which is among the highest in the country. At the campus store, the price is $5.45 a pack, even though off-campus prices range from $4.30 to $5.25, depending on the brand.
Students who do not have cars cannot run out and get cigarettes when they need them. When the campus store is closed on Sundays or closes early for other reasons, many are stuck without cigarettes. Many times students are so desperate that they have walked to Mobil gas station for cigarettes.
Some students at Quinnipiac University are not quitting, no matter how high the prices are. In fact, college students are not quitting in general, according to a recent poll by the Harvard School of Public Health researchers. The study found that 38.1% of college students smoke more than ten cigarettes a day.
Shane Brandenburg, a freshman International Business and German major, has been smoking since he was 14 years old. At that time he was living in Germany, where cigarettes were readily available and only two dollars a pack. With such high prices, he said that he has only smoked one pack since his arrival at Quinnipiac.
William Culberson, a freshman International Business major, said that the current cigarette tax in his home state of North Carolina is five cents a pack. After smoking for two years, William was worried that his addiction was going to start costing him a lot of money, with a jump from $3.50 to $5.50 per pack.
There are other alternatives to paying high prices, however. Chuba said she found a store on the border of Connecticut and Massachusetts where cigarettes are sold for $40 a carton, which according to her, is an awesome deal. She decided that the campus “Quick Stop” should be for cigarette emergencies.
Amy Lohse, a freshman mass communications major, is from New Jersey where cigarettes are about $4.75 per pack. For her, there is no dramatic difference.
“The prices are high, but I still need cigarettes,” she said.
Caroline Sandburg, a freshman mass communications major, is from New York, where the prices of the cigarettes are the same as they are in New Jersey, if not higher, she said. She continues to buy cigarettes.
Students continue to deplete their Q-cards and regular money supplies to buy the highly taxed cigarettes. Back in “the smoking area,” the smokers, sitting around, hanging out and smoking cigarettes, said Sandburg.
“The price of cigarettes do not affect my addiction. I still have to have them,” she said.


About Megan Silverman - Staff Writer