Wawa Warns Against Cigarette Taxes for Schools

The people of Philadelphia are well acquainted with the charms of Wawa, but they mostly tend to be expressed in terms of love for the chain’s prepared-on-the-spot sandwiches. It turns out the company isn’t just a hoagie flogger, though: It’s a merchant of the devil himself, selling those evil cancer sticks known as cigarettes.

Which explains why the company is circulating “literature” that seems to warn against City Council’s decision to levy a new cigarette tax to help Philly’s schools survive, with warnings that Philly customers will merely cross the border to Jersey and Delware to buy their smokes, rather than pony up the extra dough to make sure their children at least benefit from their horrible life’s mistakes.

However, Wawa spokeswoman Lori Bruce said the convenience store chain does not oppose state-enabling legislation that would allow Philadelphia to tax cigarettes.

“[The literature] was shared in an effort to present all available facts on this complex issue and is not indicative of a position on the issue,” she said. “It should not be interpreted as our opposing the effort.”

Bruce said the literature circulated by Wawa features “industry concerns” based on “well-known facts and previously published industry experiences.”

She also emphasized that Wawa supports efforts to save Philly’s public schools. Everybody wants that. But nobody wants to pay for it.