Border Residents Flock to New Hampshire for Cheaper Smokes | NACS Online – Media – News Archive
Sign In Help

The Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing

Skip Navigation LinksNACS Online / Media / News Archive

Border Residents Flock to New Hampshire for Cheaper Smokes

Less than a week after a $1-a-pack cigarette increase takes effect in Massachusetts, smokers are flocking to New Hampshire for cheaper cigarettes.
August 12, 2013

​MILFORD – New Hampshire convenience stores located just across the border from Massachusetts are doing a brisk business selling tobacco products to their Bay State neighbors, the Hollis Brookline Journal reports.

After a $1-a-pack cigarette tax increase took effect in Massachusetts on August 1, Granite State stores are thriving.

“It’s been crazy today,” said Diane, a manager at Smokin’ Joe’s Ayottes Stateline Store in Hudson (NH). “We have a lot of regulars, but there were more people I’ve never seen before, and they’re all complaining.”

Indeed, the parking lot at Ayottes includes a split between New Hampshire and Massachusetts license plates. One Massachusetts customer said he drove 15 minutes to purchase cheaper cigarettes in New Hampshire.

A similar effect was taking place at Tobacco Haven in Brookline (NH), across the border from Townsend, Massachusetts, with more than half the cars in the parking lot sporting Massachusetts license plates.

“It’s been nonstop since we opened the door,” said cashier Darlene as she rang up a purchase for three packs of Marlboros.

Massachusetts  increased its cigarette tax by $1 per pack to $3.51, the second highest rate in the nation. Taxes on cigars jumped 30%, and smokeless tobacco products increased 90%.

“It’s ridiculous, absolutely insane,” said Massachusetts resident Jennifer Grondin, a smoker. “I would rather go without than buy (cigarettes) in Mass. I won’t even buy a pack there; I’ll wait until the next day. I’d love to quit, but it’s not that easy with all the stresses in life. I feel bad for the people who live on the Cape and can’t easily get them cheaper.”