Tobacco Taxes on the Rise

The taxman cometh, and he wants you to pay more for tobacco products this time around. I love my home state, but I must admit that Californians' tendency to tax anything and everything with which we disagree or disapprove is about to drive me over the edge!

Last night, on the way home from class, I had to stop at the local 7-11 for a pack of cigarettes. As I walked into the store, I noticed a neon orange sign on the front door suggesting that smokers stock up before the latest cigarette tax takes effect on April 1. "Crap!" I thought, "Another tobacco tax coming down the pike?" So this morning, I decided to do some investigation to uncover the when, where, and how much of the latest round of tobacco taxes across the country.

In California, AB 89, which passed the Legislature on January 5, 2009, increases the tax on cigarettes only. On April 1, 2009, each pack of cigarettes will go up in price by $1.05. Although I scoured the bill, which you can read here, I didn't find any increase for other tobacco products. The cost of hookah tobacco should not go up as a result of AB 89; the language of the bill is specific to cigarettes. We got somewhat lucky this time around. Other states, though, weren't as fortunate.

  • Arkansas' HB 1204 will increase the tax on non-cigarette tobacco products from 32 precent of the wholesale price to 68 percent. The governer's website has more information on the tax increase and the allocation of the funds collected.
  • Kentucky's HB 144 doubles the current tax on "snuff and other tobacco products," so that means hookah tobacco prices will increase.

Several other states have tobacco legislation in the works, but the process that each state requires for a bill to pass into law has not been completed yet. If you like in Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, or South Dakota, you need to know that your states' governments are actively pursuing an increase in tobacco taxes. To find out more, check out the 2009 Proposed State Tobacco Tax Increase Legislation website.

Maybe it's time to learn the fine art of tobacco agriculture!

Comments (6)


1:21 AM

I think that the government has increased the tobacco taxes in order to lower the number of cigars being purchased. I think the government wants to improve the health of people and also wants to prevent cancer among the smokers. Well bad new for the chain smokers.


There are plenty of things in this world that can cause cancer, but the government doesn't police them. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and poor eating habits contribute to this problem more than any other. Why isn't the government policing our food consumption and taxing the things it thinks are bad for us?


7:27 PM

Economy is in the dumps and tax's are going to be applied to things people enjoy the most, which is really sad. I know tobacco tax's, here in NYC a pack of ciggs is around 8 bucks. But hey what can you do? Hopefully herbal shisha prices don't go up. Anywho great post!

OMG, 8 bucks for a pack of cigs? I had a fit when I had to pay $5.82the other day. I'm thinking that it may finally be time to quit, especially when I think of all the other things I could do with that money!

Adam L

9:41 AM

The ultimate goal of raising cigarette taxes is to improve public health and extend lives. If tobacco revenues decline over time because fewer people are smoking, this would indicate that the policy is working. Thanks. Medical Marijuana Portland

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