Price Increases on Cigarettes


Cigarette smokers suffered a big hit to their wallets in early 2009. Not only did the average retail price for each pack of cigarettes increase by roughly 62 cents, but there were also federal and state tax increases. Not all states increased taxes, but if you're looking for cheap cigarettes, it makes sense to look at the states with the lowest cigarette taxes. While you may run into high local taxes in some cities, you should look at a state in whole because that will give you a good idea of where buy your cigarettes in bulk.

Federal Cigarette Tax

According to an article from USA Today, the tobacco tax increase may cause many to completely put down their lighters. The federal tax on cigarettes is $1.01 per pack, an increase President Obama set into motion in early February, soon after he stepped into office. The tax increased from 39 cents on April 1, 2009, making it the largest increase on tobacco products in history. The additional taxes are to help support the Children's Health Insurance Program. In addition to the federal taxes, you have local and state taxes to consider (some of which also increased substantially).

Where to Buy Cheap Cigarettes

If you're a frequent traveler or you have family in the area, you may just want to stock up on your cigarettes in South Carolina, where the taxes were lowest as of March 27, 2009 according to USA Today. At that time, state taxes were a mere seven cents tag cloud
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per pack.

As of April 27, 2009, the average cost of a pack of cigarettes with all retail and tax increases included was $4.82, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. If you can find them for less than that, snatch them up because you've discovered where to buy cheap cigarettes.

States with the lowest cigarette taxes (from lowest to highest) through at least June 30, 2009:

South Carolina ($.07)

Missouri ($.17)

Mississippi ($.18)

Virginia ($.30)

Florida ($.339)

North Carolina ($.35)

Louisiana ($.36)

Georgia ($.37)

Alabama ($.425)

North Dakota ($.44)

West Virginia ($.55)

Idaho ($.57)

With federal taxes being the same regardless of state and retail prices being roughly the same everywhere, looking at the states with the lowest taxes should give you a good idea of where to buy cheap cigarettes.

Avoid purchasing your cigarettes anywhere in New York state. Those will be the most expensive cigarettes you can buy due to the taxes involved. The state increased their taxes on each pack to $2.75. According to Tobacco Free Kids, New York City has the highest tax rates in the country, at $4.25 per pack. Chicago, Illinois is only one step down from that at $3.66 per pack.

Buying Online

If you're hoping to escape some of the taxes on cigarettes by purchasing online, you may be disappointed. Sites that sell tobacco products online state that you will be charged the federal tax. In addition to that amount, you may be responsible for additional state and local taxes.

Discount Cigarettes Shopping Guide offers a bit more insight, stating that you may be able to purchase cigarettes more cheaply online if you live in a high cigarette tax state, such as New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Washington, Rhode Island, or Michigan. Those who live in low-tax states like those listed above will probably not save money by shopping for their cigarettes online. They also offer a list of cigarette outlet stores.

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