Nevada Smokers Get a Break on Prices - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Nevada Smokers Get a Break on Prices

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John Potter

Channel 2 News

It's said if the threat of cancer can't get you to quit smoking, the prospect of poverty will. Cigarettes are now selling for up to $8 a pack in Reno. A pack-a-day smoker could easily burn through $60 a week, and well over $3,000 per year. Smokers like Anthony Michael Walsh say it's unfair. "Absolutely. It's my choice. I feel as an American I should be able to smoke if I want to."

The way cigarette prices are right now, it just had to happen…Reno is now home to its first automated cigarette-roller machine, where you can get a cigarette for about 10 cents. That's right…10 cents. The equivalent to a pack would be a little over $2. And 200 cigarettes is $22 plus tax. The tax is less, much less…just state sales tax, adding only $1.70 for 200. "Cheap Smokes" at the corner of Vasser and South Virginia in Reno avoids cigarette taxes entirely by making the customer the "manufacturer".

New customer Anthony Walsh starts by selecting his tobacco from bins. He then brings over a pitcher-full to…"RYO," Reno's one-of-a-kind "roll your own" machine. Owner Jeff Kalb described the process: "The tobacco filters down to the cutter. The cutter cuts the tobacco; the air pressure shoots the tobacco into one of the tubes." Anthony, or "RYO", rolled 200 smokes, a carton's worth, in 8 minutes.

Kalb saw how popular these machines were when he worked construction in Las Vegas. When construction died, Jeff brought the idea here to Reno. For him, it's a money machine. He has an answer for those who don't approve of what he sells: "Some people are against smokers. We're just trying to create a cheap, quick and easy way for smokers to enjoy their cigarettes."

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