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Smokes cost 75 cents a pack more today in Wisconsin

A pack of cigarettes will cost 75 cents more in Wisconsin today, as the tax on smokes goes up for the third time in the last 21 months.

The state also raised its tax by a buck a pack at the start of 2008, and the federal government piled on another 62 cents just five months ago.

Wisconsin's cigarette tax is now the fifth-highest in the country, and the highest among its neighbors.

And that's sure to have smokers near the border flock to other states to get their fix. Michigan's tax is now 52 cents cheaper.

Minnesota's tax is $1.02 less. Iowa's government takes $1.16 less.

And Illinois has the lowest cigarette tax among our neighbors, still just 98 cents a pack compared to Wisconsin's $2.52.

Health advocates praise the new increase, saying it will get more smokers to quit.

But groups that represent gas stations and grocery stores say it will reduce their non-fuel sales by 25-40 percent.

Also, cigarettes are not the only tobacco products going up today.

The tax on chewing tobacco is now 100 percent of the wholesale price.

Cigars, pipe tobacco, and other such products will have their tax jump from 50 percent to 71 percent of wholesale.