SOUTH SALT LAKE -- Tobacco sales in Utah have dropped 15 percent since a $1 increase in the tobacco tax took effect last year.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/nkBi1j) that tax commission numbers show almost 10 million fewer packs have been sold in the 11 months since the tax increased July 1, 2010.
The tax commission says tobacco tax revenues have nearly doubled in spite of the decreased sales.
Advocates say the numbers translate to about 19,000 pack-a-day smokers quitting.
Republican tax hike sponsor Rep. Paul Ray of Clearfield says the numbers of people quitting prove the tax is working to deter smoking.
Smoke shop owner Jim Gibbs says the lost customers could force him to close his South Salt Lake business.