Some blame the tobacco industry, others blame the government.

No butts about it, smokers and cigarette retailers aren't happy.

When a 10-cent reduction in New Hampshire's cigarette tax took effect July 1, some people expected cigarette prices to drop. Store owners expected to boost profits by selling more cigarettes.

The state Legislature passed the reduction in June to raise revenue and boost business in the Granite State. The tobacco tax dropped from $1.78 to $1.68 per pack, a $1 per carton decrease.

But just as the tax cut took effect, tobacco manufacturers increased their prices — negating any immediate benefit to those who buy and sell discount cigarette online in New Hampshire.

Most people didn't notice a difference because the change took place within 24 hours and they were still paying roughly the same, according to Mary Jo Chiklis, who has worked at Stateline Paysaver in Salem since 1976.

"They lowered the prices and the manufacturers raised the prices — they just pulled a fast one and took advantage of it," Chiklis said. "We got a break for the tax, and then we were hit by the manufacturer."

Kamal Patel, owner of Discount Stateline Store in Salem, said his store isn't seeing the expected increase in cigarette sales.

"The customers don't get a benefit," he said. "It's almost like a wash — it's the same as before."

Customers at Borderline Convenience Store in Salem aren't happy, owner Bob Patel said.

"People are complaining they went down and then up," he said.

At Nashua Road Mobil in Londonderry, cashier Kate Dizio said her customers aren't pleased.

"I've had a lot of people say they're angry the prices didn't go down," she said.

People expecting to benefit from the tax cut started questioning government, Dizio said.

"They want to know where their tax money is going," she said.

But many others took it all in stride, she said.

"Some people don't notice, some notice but don't care," Dizio said. "They are going to smoke cigarettes no matter what."

Joe Lewis noticed.

The 54-year-old Salem resident wondered why he never saw a price decrease.

"I thought it was going to go down, but then it stayed the same," Lewis said.

Most customers haven't noticed a difference, clerks said.

One thing hasn't changed: Massachusetts smokers are still going to buy their cheap cigarettes in New Hampshire because it is still much cheaper.

"I always come up here," said Patricia Aramo, 57, of Haverhill.

"I only buy them in New Hampshire," said David Chretien, 40, of Methuen.

He said a pack is at least $2 cheaper here.

Massachusetts' cigarette tax is $2.51 per pack.

Helen Lamirande, 49, of Lawrence said she became so fed up with the rising cost of cigarettes, she rolls her own.

"If the government wants to stop us from smoking cigarettes, why put them on the market?" she said. "They are taking away the rights of the people."

Charles Love, 55, of Methuen is also tired of the cost increases.

"I'm trying to quit — you can't afford it," Love said.

John Dumais, president of the New Hampshire Grocers Association, said the manufacturers' price increases are disappointing, but not unexpected. They tend to raise their prices twice a year — summer and winter, Dumais said.

"It's just unfortunate it happened at the same time (as the tax cut)," he said.

But Dumais said the tax cut will still prove beneficial to New Hampshire businesses, raising revenue in the long run. People from other states will buy cigarettes store here and other items as well, he said.

"I think we're all a little disappointed, but I think we still have a bigger price advantage than other states," he said. "All of that will generate more revenue for the state.

House Finance Committee Chairman Ken Weyler, R-Kingston, is one of several lawmakers who proposed the tax reduction. Weyler said he still thinks the tax reduction will still lead to increased revenues.

"I'm not going to rush to judgment," he said. "I'm willing to take the long-term look at it see what's happening."

The state Department of Revenue Administration has said the tax cut would decrease revenues, but the exact fiscal impact is difficult to determine.

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