OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — A new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum shows that sales of tobacco products have declined sharply over the past two decades.
“In 2022, there were just under 193 million packs of cigarettes that were legally sold in Wisconsin," said Ari Brown, a Wisconsin Policy Forum researcher. "That is a more than 50% decline from the just under 420 million that was purchased in 2001.”
Brown attributes the decline to an increase in taxes on tobacco products, as well as a ban on smoking in many indoor spaces the state passed in 2010.
“In 2007, the tax rate per pack in Wisconsin was $1.16 and then by 2010 it was $3.53," Brown said. "From 2007-2012 alone, purchases declined from 390.8 million to 234.9 million, about a 40% decrease in those five years.”
Brown also says the increasing popularity of "substitute products," such as vaping devices, "are definitely factors" in the decline of tobacco sales as well.
Marty Nordstrom is a manager at Smokin Glass in Oshkosh, which primarily sells glass products, but also carries vapes. He says that from what he's seen, vape usage seems to be holding steady.
“It’s been pretty even-keel," Nordstrom said. "I haven’t really noticed an uptick or a downtick at all.”
Nordstrom says the decline in tobacco sales hasn't really affected his store and even sees business improving.
“Year after year it gets better," he said.