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Federal and State Cigarette Excise Taxes—United States, 1995–2009

May 22, 2009 / Vol. 58 / No. 19

MMWR Introduction

On April 1, 2009, the largest federal cigarette excise tax increase in history went into effect, increasing the tax on cigarettes from 39 cents to $1.01 per pack. When combined with the state average excise tax of $1.20 per pack, the United States has achieved the Healthy People 2010 objective to increase the combined federal and average state cigarette excise tax to at least $2 per pack. Excise tax increases are among the most effective tools in preventing tobacco use, particularly among youth and young adults. However, tobacco growing states and other bordering southeastern states have a cigarette tax rate substantially lower than the national average of $1.20 per pack. Price increases combined with other evidence-based policy and clinical interventions can be effective in meeting national health objectives to decrease smoking prevalence and reduce smoking-attributable death and disease.

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