Cigarette & Tobacco Taxes
The American Lung Association strongly supports efforts on the national, state and local levels to increase taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products. Increasing tobacco taxes can:
- Keep kids from starting to smoke
- Help adults to quit
- Provide funding for much-needed health programs
Increasing Cigarette and Tobacco Product Taxes
Increasing taxes on cigarettes is a win-win proposition: significantly increasing cigarette taxes results in fewer kids starting to smoke and in more adults quitting while at the same time providing substantial revenue to fund important health, as well as tobacco prevention programs. Every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces consumption by about four percent among adults and about seven percent among youth.1
Funding Critical Health Programs
Federal Level: On the federal level, revenue from increased cigarette and tobacco taxes helps fund programs that support children and adults across the country, including the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In January 2009, Congress passed and President Obama signed a re-authorization and expansion of CHIP. The legislation passed by wide margins in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. CHIP provides health insurance to many of the eight to nine million uninsured children in the U.S.
The re-authorization is a win-win for the Lung Association. It will expand health insurance to more than a million additional children, including those with asthma. It was funded by a variety of tax increases on tobacco products, most prominently a $.62 increase in the tax on a pack of cigarettes, bringing the total federal tax to $1.01—a significant increase, which has helped reduce tobacco consumption, especially among youth.
State and local communities: Revenue from state and local tobacco tax increases can and should be used to fund state tobacco control programs.
The Lung Association has had great success recently in increasing the price of tobacco products as 47 states and the District of Columbia have increased their cigarette taxes since 2002, many more than once. The average state cigarette tax was $1.69 per pack as of May 2017.
- Get more information on state tobacco taxes
- See how your state measures up in our State of Tobacco Control report
- Tauras JA, O'Malley PM, Johnston LD, "Effects of Price and Access Laws on Teenage Smoking Initiation: A National Longitudinal Analysis," Bridging the Gap Research, ImpacTeen, April 2001. Available at: http://www.impacteen.org/generalarea_PDFs/AccessLaws.pdf