States With Lowest Cigarette Taxes “Could Do a Lot More to Snuff Out the Smokes”

September 08, 2011


After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data this week showing the rate of adult smoking nationwide declined to 19.3 percent in 2010, CBS News decided to look at what it calls a 'cigarette tax shocker' — the stunningly low rate of cigarette taxes in the 15 states that rank near the bottom in taxing cigarettes.   

All of them impose taxes at less than half the national average of $1.46 per pack. 

We decided to look deeper, at adult smoking rates in the states, to show how higher taxes work to help reduce smoking.

Here’s what we found:

  • Average adult smoking rate in the 15 states with the lowest cigarette taxes: 20.4 percent

  • Average adult smoking rate in the 15 states with the highest cigarette taxes: 15.9 percent

The 15 low-tax states have an average smoking rate that is 28 percent higher than the average of the 15 high- tax states.

As CBS concludes: 'States could do a lot more to snuff out the smokes.'

And they could do it by raising cigarette taxes — a sure way to reduce smoking, raise millions in revenue for strained budgets and please voters who overwhelmingly approve of hiking cigarette taxes. 

Check out the CBS News slide show.

Image: iStockPhoto