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what does a pack of cigarettes cost

what does a pack of cigarettes cost

what does a pack of cigarettes cost?

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what does a pack of cigarettes cost?

Everyone has seen a classic movie where the main characters strut around smoking cigarettes or are constantly taking smoke breaks. In fact, even some more recent television still features cigarettes prominently on screen (hello, Stranger Things). But while these characters may look cool, something that we don’t often consider is how much they must actually be dropping on their cigarette habit. The cost of cigarettes has fluctuated throughout the decades due to rising and decreasing popularity, taxes, and the ability to mass-produce cigarettes at a widespread scale. Government mandates on maximum and minimum cigarettes per pack also affect the cost.

When cigarettes were first invented, there was no tax on them. In 1864, the first cigarette tax was created, allowing the government to collect money on all cigarette sales in the United States. This led to a pretty big jump in the cost of cigarettes. Basically, until the 21st century, cigarettes were an affordable habit. Unlike certain pipes and cigars (which can be quite costly), cigarettes were designed to be an affordable tobacco product for everyday people.

Today, the average pack of cigarettes costs around seven dollars, although it can cost more or less than that depending on state tax along with the federal tax. The federal tax is just over one dollar per 20 pack of cigarettes , while some states (such as New York and Connecticut) take in $4.35 per pack of cigarettes. This is the highest state tax on cigarettes in the country. The lowest tax is in Georgia, which takes just 37 cents per pack.

what does a pack of cigarettes cost
what does a pack of cigarettes cost

What Affects Cigarette Prices?

Before we list the states, let’s learn why the price of cigarettes varies. Several factors affect how much residents pay for cigarettes in their state. Taxes, for instance, account for 44.3% of the total cigarette retail price per pack.

  • Federal cigarette tax – Ever since 2009, the federal tax on cigarettes has been $1.01 per pack. This is a flat charge that applies to all packets, regardless of the state or brand.
  • State taxes – State taxes are a significant factor that affects the average cigarette prices by state. D.C., for example, has the highest cigarette tax by state of $4.50 per pack. That’s why this destination is among the top five states with the highest cigarette prices.
  • Brand – Not all cigarette brands cost the same. Plus, most brands have a broad selection of products, whose prices also vary. Meaning, the Marlboro carton price by state isn’t identical to the Newport cigarettes price by state.
  • Neighborhood and store – A Public Health Reports study established back in 2009 that cigarette costs vary by community and store type as well. High-income areas have more expensive cigarettes. The research concluded that the prices were higher in minority neighborhoods where mobility was generally lower. As for store price variations, chain stores had the lowest cigarette prices compared to independent stores.

And one more thing before we dive into the data on cigarette prices by state — the actual price of smoking goes beyond the cost of cigarettes. Tobacco use often has costly consequences for your health. Smokers are more likely to develop chronic diseases that lead to soaring medical bills, especially in the USA. America, after all, has the highest healthcare costs by country.

what does a pack of cigarettes cost
what does a pack of cigarettes cost

Average Cigarette Price in the US

  • The average cigarette price by state is $6.28.

(National Cancer Institute)

Typically, a US smoker smokes around 15 cigarettes a day (more than half a pack), with the average price of a pack of cigarettes at $6.28. But the lowest cost per pack is below the average at $5.25, whereas the most expensive is $12.85.

New York has the most expensive cigarettes by state.

(World Population Review)

New York is home to the most expensive cigarettes in the US. The average price of cigarettes by state includes New York’s $12.85 a pack.

    •  A New Yorker smoking 40 cigarettes per week will spend $1,336/year on cigarettes.
    • New York has a cigarette tax of $4.35 per pack
  • Massachusetts is the fourth costliest state to smoke cigarettes, with the average smoker paying more than $2.3 million in a lifetime.

(Masslive, Statista, America’s Health Rankings)

A smoker’s life in Massachusetts is far from cheap. Although not among the cheapest cigarettes by state, the average price for a pack of cigarettes In MA is $9.95. An average smoker then will spend over $2.3 million on cigarettes in a lifetime. In 2020, the excise tax per pack in MA was $3.51 and will remain until the end of 2021.

    • According to one survey, only 11% of those living in MA smoked in 2020.
    • There’s a sharp difference between the male and female population of smokers in Massachusetts—smoking prevalence is higher among men than women at 12.8% and 9.5%, respectively.
  • The lowest cigarette prices for some states start at $5.25 per pack.

(World Population Review)

The following presents the top cheapest price of cigarettes by state. (The most inexpensive cigarette dollars are located on the East Coast.)

State Price/pack
Missouri $5.25
Virginia $5.25
Tennessee $5.30
North Carolina $5.45
West Virginia $5.43
Louisiana $5.44
what does a pack of cigarettes cost
what does a pack of cigarettes cost

The Cost Extends Beyond the Price of Cigarettes

Of course, the expense of smoking goes further than just the price of a pack of your favorite brand. It’s estimated that smoking-related medical expenses surpass $130 billion each year in the United States, causing the economy over $156 billion in losses due to smoking-related illnesses and deaths.

Smokers have to navigate higher premiums for life insurance as well as other ancillary expenses like dental hygiene; increased cleaning costs of homes, cars, and clothing; and lower resale values of property.

Take into account the costs associated with lost productivity while at work or smoking-related sick days, and the financial impact of this habit begins to amass greatly.

How much does a pack of cigarettes cost in Ontario?

Ontario cigarette price increase means smokers will be paying as much as $18.37 a pack . The latest Ontario cigarette price increase means smokers could be spending as much as $569/month for a pack -a-day habit.

Strikes, Taxes and Cigarette Prices in Canada

A strike at a large Canadian cigarette manufacturer, Imperial Brands, created shortages in several cigarette types, exacerbating the problem of illicit cigarettes. By 1953, tobacco industrialists managed a rollback of taxes.

In 1964, health concerns within the government successfully established the Smoking and Health Program with a budget of $600,000. But the government budget for assistance to tobacco growers and manufacturers was more than five times that.

Cigarette prices saw upward pressure throughout the 60s but per capita consumption of cigarettes peaked at a whopping 4,100 cigarettes per person by 1964. Tobacco interests could see resistance coming, though.

How much does a pack of cigarettes cost in Alberta?

In Alberta , a pack of 25 major brand-name cigarettes costs an average of $11.32, with a carton of 10 usually selling for more than $100. Cheap Smokes sells a carton for $88.50.

Why are cigarettes more expensive in some regions?

Smoking products are tightly regulated across Canada, with regulations and legal smoking ages varying between provinces. Tobacco taxes can be used to dissuade consumers from purchasing cigarettes, in order to reduce smoking rates and related diseases. Canadian provinces have their own governmental budgets and, therefore, the power to implement their own tobacco taxes. This creates differences in prices across the country.

Cigarette Prices by State 2022

Cigarette prices per state vary between $5.25 and $12.85 per pack. With 20 cigarettes per pack, this ranges between $.26 and $.64 per cigarette.

Only two states are outliers, with cigarette prices above $10 per pack. Illinois charges $11.50 per pack, and New York charges $12.85 per pack. While both of these states have large populations, there is no correlation between state population and how much they charge for a pack of cigarettes.

The average cost for a pack of cigarettes is across all states is $6.96 per pack or an average of $.35 per cigarette. Seventeen states have cigarette prices that fall above this average, and 23 states have prices below this average. This means that states tend to have lower cigarette prices than higher.

According to the American Lung Association, the average smoker has 15 cigarettes a day. On average, this costs them $5.25 a day, or $1,916.25 per year. In New York, the average smoker would spend $9.60 per day, or $3,504 every year. In the states that charge only $5.25 per pack (Missouri and Virginia), the average smoker would spend $3.90 a day, or $1,423.50 per year.*

Geographically, high cigarette prices tend to be concentrated in New York and the states north of it, which comprise the “New England” area and the upper Midwest states of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii also have higher than average prices but are not concentrated in a geographic area.

what does a pack of cigarettes cost
what does a pack of cigarettes cost

Cigarette Prices by State 2022

The lowest prices are generally concentrated in the eastern states. The six lowest-priced states are Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. Louisiana and Alabama are also among the lowest prices for cigarettes.

The north Rocky Mountain States, including Idaho, Wyoming, and North Dakota, also have low prices and are geographically concentrated. In general, northern states are more likely to have higher cigarette prices than southern states.

Cigarettes are taxed on both the federal and state levels and are subject to both state and local sales tax as well. The federal tax rate on cigarettes is $1.0066 per 20-pack of cigarettes. The average cigarette tax among states is $1.73 per 20-pack of cigarettes. Cigarette taxes range from $0.17 per pack in Missouri to $4.35 per pack in New York. Every state also has some kind of tax on non-cigarette tobacco products.


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