Skip to main content

Border states see a nicotine hit from Minnesota smokers

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Retailers at gas stations and convenience stores in communities adjacent to Minnesota are seeing a predictable bump in sales as smokers cross a river or a border to save money.

On Monday, the state increased its cigarette tax by $1.60 a pack in an effort to both raise revenue and discourage people from lighting up.

According to the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids, Minnesota's butt tax is the 6th highest in the nation, while nearby North Dakota's is 46th. The Grand Forks Herald reports business got a bump at Valley Dairy’s Big Cigs in Grand Forks as smokers from Minnesota communities arrived to buy cheaper packs. Big Cigs manager Rachel Lawrence said numerous cars with Minnesota license plates roledl into her store’s parking lot.

The Fargo Forum has the dollars and cents. The cheapest pack of cigarettes at Brady’s Service Center in Moorhead jumped to $6.50 on Monday. The same pack of Pall Malls at Fargo’s Gateway Service Center-Cenex was $3.79.

KSFY in Sioux Falls reported that South Dakota retailers expect to benefit from Minnesota smokers who make a run for the border.

In Brandon, S.D., Jason Groeneweg, assistant manager of the Coffee Cup, told the station he hopes smokers will make regular trips to South Dakota. "It's a great benefit for us because when they come in, they start to make a routine out of it."

WKBT Lac Crosse, Wis. reports that when Wisconsin increased its cigarette tax a few years ago, retailers lost customers to Minnesota. Now they hope to get them back.

The Winona Daily News quotes a retailer in nearby Centerville. Wis. who said her store ordered more inventory, aware that many border-area residents work in one state and live in the other and can stop at her store rather than one on the other side of the interstate bridge.

The paper also reported that a Winona e-cigarette retailer welcomed the hike in the hopes it will convince smokers to switch to electronic cigarettes, which aren’t taxed like old school smokes and cost one-third of what someone smoking an $8 pack would pay.

Mark Roussin opened his Vapor Vibes store a month ago. “We’ve already seen it today,” he said about an increase in business.

Next Up

Great Dane Rescue and Sanctuary

Emaciated Great Danes rescued after being found living in minivan

Great Dane Rescue of Minnesota and Wisconsin posted that two of the dogs are in "rough condition" and "barely hanging on."

Screen Shot 2020-05-26 at 10.28.52 AM

2 years since George Floyd's killing, Biden signs exec order on policing

The signing comes on the second anniversary of Floyd's murder by police in south Minneapolis.


Lutsen Mountains owner to buy Michigan ski resort

The Skinner family has operated alpine ski areas in the Midwest for 60 years.


Mayo Clinic, CDC address concerns over monkeypox in the US

The CDC does not currently think there is a significant threat to the general public.

police tape

Charges: Man killed brother, left body in homemade camper for 7 months

James Robert Hess, 48, faces second-degree murder charges for the death of his 52-year-old brother, William Harold Hess Jr.


Minnesota forecast: Hot, humid and severe storm chances

Bring Me The News meteorologist Sven Sundgaard says right now the best chance for storms looks like Sunday/Sunday night.

Thai Cultural Council of Minnesota

Minnesota's biggest Thai festival to be hosted in front of State Capitol

The Thai New Year, or Songkran, is one of the most celebrated holidays in Thailand.

police tape, crime scene

Man dies after being shot in the head in St. Cloud

Investigators believe the suspects fled the scene in a vehicle.


Uvalde school massacre: MN Democrats call for action, Republicans prayers

The tragedy in Texas has sparked different reactions from Minnesota's congressional delegation.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

St. Cloud man fires shot at police in hours-long standoff, surrenders

Shawn Lawrence Jacobs, 37, was arrested just before 4 p.m. Tuesday after he surrendered.

New baby zebra at the Como Zoo.

St. Paul's Como Zoo welcomes new baby zebra

The baby is yet to be named, and the zoo is planning an event for visitors to help with the decision.