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Minnesota Cigarette Tax Hike Drives N.D. Sales - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Minnesota Cigarette Tax Hike Drives N.D. Sales

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Many Minnesotan smokers are traveling West for cheaper cigarettes since a steep statewide tax hike.

Smokers are flooding across the river to avoid the dollar-and-a-half tax increase per pack; and the businesses in border towns, like Fargo, are reaping in those benefits.

The Petro Serve on South University Drive in Fargo says they have to quadruple some of their regular orders on certain brands just to keep up with demand. Even then, they're often running short. For the last month and a half since the tax has been in place, you might not believe just how much business they've done.

"It's not as much people getting gas, it's lots of cigarettes," Peter Ullman, Sales Associate at Petro Serve, said.

Ullman spends more time stocking cigarettes than ever before.

"We go through like four times the amount of cigarettes we did before."

He's checking more IDs than ever before.

"They're all Minnesotas, like all Minnesota IDs," Ullman said.

Because, just when cigarette tax spiked across the border so did this shop's sales.

"We also have like extra boxes in the back. 'Cause, even with all these cupboards, we can't fit enough cigarettes in them."

This Petro Serve is conveniently located at the last Eastbound exit before Minnesota lines. Bryce Meester, cashier, says it's paying off.

"I would say a fair amount is probably 75-percent Minnesota, then like 25-percent North Dakota. A lot of them work in North Dakota, too, in Fargo. So, they just hop on the Interstate and they stop here before they get to Minnesota," Meester said.

Just goes to show you far some smokers will go to fight the urge in order to save the splurge.

"If I run out while I'm over there in Minnesota, I'll just wait until I get back here and just try to cut off for a little while," Marshall Paulsen, a smoker, said.

Now, check out lines like these start lighting up with prices that are smoking hot.

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