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The status quo rules in the cigarettes category, with very little year-over-year change

Big changes could come to the cigarettes category next year if elected officials across the country get their way. On the tax front, President Barack Obama has proposed raising the federal tobacco tax in the 2014 budget, a move that would hike the cost of a pack of cigarettes by 94 cents. In California, leaders may once again try to increase the state's excise tax after being dealt a narrow defeat on a similar measure in 2012.

Taxes aside, age may become a factor in New York where officials — both on the state and New York City levels — have floated proposals to raise the minimum legal age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21. Time will tell if other municipalities or states follow their lead.

For now, though, the cigarettes category remains mostly unchanged. Overall, cigarettes represented 32.87 percent of in-store sales and 17.53 percent of in-store gross margin dollars last year — down slightly from 33.74 percent and 18.64 percent, respectively, the prior year.

Despite the many challenges present in the category, convenience stores remain the go-to spot to buy cigarettes.

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