Selected SLC Research


Policy Analysis | August 1, 2009

What are the current tobacco tax rates in the SLC states?

Background:

Nationally, 12 states-including four SLC states-increased tobacco taxes this year. Since 2002, 46 states and Washington, D.C., have increased cigarette tax rates 88 times. Currently, 28 states and Washington, D.C., have cigarette tax rates of $1.00 per pack or more; 13 states and Washington, D.C., have cigarette tax rates of $2.00 per pack or more; and one state-Rhode Island-currently has a cigarette tax rate of more than $3.00-$3.46 per pack.

Further details:

  • At $4.25 per pack, New York City has the highest combined state-local tax rate; Chicago comes in second at $3.66 per pack.

  • The average state tax per pack of cigarettes in the SLC is $0.71, far below the national average of $1.27 per pack.

  • The federal cigarette tax increased to $1.01 per pack in April of this year.

  • The average price for a pack of cigarettes nationwide is approximately $5.06.

Cigarette Tax Rates in the Southern States

State Tax Regional Rank National Rank Year of last increase Est. health costs/yr directly linked to smoking
Maryland $2.00 1 7 2007 $1.96 bill
Texas $1.41 2 19 2006 $5.83 bill
Florida $1.34 3 22 2009 $6.32 bill
Arkansas $1.15 4 26 2009 $0.81 bill
Oklahoma $1.03 5 28 2005 $1.16 bill
Mississippi $0.68 6 37 2009 $0.72 bill
Tennessee $0.62 7 39 2007 $2.16 bill
Kentucky $0.60 8 40 2009 $1.50 bill
West Virginia $0.55 9 43 2003 $0.69 bill
Alabama $0.43 10 45 2004 $1.49 bill
Georgia $0.37 11 46 2003 $2.25 bill
Louisiana $0.36 12 47 2002 $1.47 bill
North Carolina * $0.35 13 48 2007 $2.46 bill
Virginia $0.30 14 49 2004 $2.08 bill
Missouri $0.17 15 50 1993 $2.13 bill
South Carolina $0.07 16 51 1977 $1.09 bill
SLC Average $0.71 N/A N/A N/A $2.13 bill
National Average $1.27 N/A N/A N/A N/A

* As of August 4, 2009, there was a bill in the North Carolina General Assembly still in discussion that would increase the state cigarette tax rate to $0.85.
Also as of this date, the North Carolina General Assembly was still in session working on a budget for FY 2010.

Source: Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids