Thursday, April 08, 2010

Cigarette Tax Bump in 15 States Lifts U.S. Fees to $2.35 a Pack

After cigarette taxes went up in 15 states during the year 2009, it brought the national average to an astounding $2.35 a pack. The average state tax assessed on a pack of cigarettes is $1.34, in addition to the $1.01 federal tax that was also increased last year. As this article explains, the various increases have resulted in more than $1 billion in new state and federal tax revenue.

Smoking rates in the U.S. fell about 15 percent in the last decade, though declines slowed in the last five years, according to the Atlanta-based CDC. Thomas Frieden, the agency’s director, has warned that decades of smoking reductions may be ending unless taxes increase and more money is spent on education.

“Increasing cigarette excise taxes is one of the most effective tobacco control policies,” the report’s authors wrote. “Additional increases in cigarette excise taxes and dedication of all resulting revenues to tobacco control and prevention programs at levels recommended by CDC could result in further reductions in smoking.”

Each $1-a-pack increase brings in about $9.1 billion in annual tax revenue, according to the report. A dollar increase, over time, also prevents about 1 million smoking-related deaths and stops 2.3 million children from becoming smokers, the CDC said.

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