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July 27, 2004 • Volume 1 / Number 30 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Tobacco Products Excise Taxes

All 50 states and the District of Columbia impose excise taxes on cigarettes. As of December 31, 2003, these taxes ranged from 2.5 cents per pack in Virginia to $2.05 per pack in New Jersey. The nationwide average is 72.8 cents per pack - an increase of 12.7 cents from 2002.

New Jersey's and Rhode Island's ($1.71) taxes are the highest in the nation. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York also have cigarette excise tax rates at $1.50 or more. Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia have the lowest rates: all below 10 cents. Eleven states have cigarette tax rates of $1.00 to $1.49.

During 2003, 14 states enacted laws to increase their cigarette excise taxes. Lawmakers in Montana, New Jersey, and New Mexico mandated the largest increases by raising their cigarette taxes 52 cents or more. The average tax increase during 2003 was 36.9 cents, down 6.6 cents from an average increase of 43.5 cents in 2002.

Chewing Tobacco and Snuff
Forty-seven states impose excise taxes on chewing tobacco and snuff. Forty-four states tax a percentage of the wholesale price, the manufacturer's selling price, the invoice price, or the list price. Only Alabama, Arizona, and North Dakota tax both chewing tobacco and snuff according to weight. While Connecticut and Montana impose taxes on chewing tobacco at a percentage of the wholesale sales price, snuff is taxed by weight.

In 2003, Arkansas and Montana increased existing excise taxes on chewing tobacco and California and New Hampshire decreased taxes on these products. During Tobacco Products Excise Taxes that year, Georgia added a new tax of 10 percent of the wholesale cost price on chewing tobacco and snuff, and Montana added a 35 cents per ounce tax on snuff.

Dedicated Excise Tax Facts
Sixteen states have laws requiring a portion of their cigarette excise taxes to be dedicated to cancer or tobacco control programs. Since 1998, few states have enacted legislation dedicating tobacco excise taxes to health or tobacco control purposes. However, during this same time, the states began receiving payments from the tobacco industry through the Master Settlement Agreement and through other state settlements and many have dedicated a portion of these funds to cancer and tobacco control.

Source: National Cancer Institute: State Cancer Legislative Database Program, April, 2004,

Excise Tax Rate Per Pack of Cigarettes