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Head for the Border

After Jan. 1, when Washington raised its cigarette tax to $1.42 per pack, making it the highest in the nation, many smokers in border areas made resolutions to travel to Idaho or Oregon for cheaper smokes.

As a result, the drop in Washington cigarette sales is far higher than expected, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

"We've talked with some of the retailers on the Washington side of the border and they said they've been cut almost in half," said Carter Mitchell of the Washington Liquor Control Board, which is charged with blocking the import of untaxed cigarettes. "On the Oregon side, they say sales have almost doubled."

Smokers have plenty of incentive to rush across the border. The state tax on a carton of cigarettes in Washington is $14.25. It's just $2.80 in Idaho and $6.80 in Oregon, Mitchell said.

As a result, a carton of Marlboros that costs $30.99 in State Line costs $48.99 at the Albertson's store in nearby Liberty Lake, Wash.

A carton of Camels that costs $23.99 in State Line was also $48.99 at the Albertson's, the report said.
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