Anyone who has ever smoked cigarettes knows that smoking is a far cheaper activity in North Carolina than in New York.
One of the biggest reasons for the differences in cigarette prices across states is state cigarette taxes. The taxes, in addition to generating revenue for the state government, act as deterrents to smoking in an attempt to improve public health.
This map shows state cigarette taxes, based on information from the Tax Foundation. Darker green indicates higher per-pack taxes:
New York has far and away the highest cigarette taxes in the United States at $US4.35 per 20 cigarette pack — 84¢ more than the next highest state tax of $US3.51 in Massachusetts.
The map above only includes state taxes, and not any additional local taxes. Add in New York City’s tax of $US1.50 per pack, and the $US5.85 combined tax goes a long way in explaining why cigarettes cost over ten dollars a pack in the city.
Meanwhile, taxes are far lower in the south and midwest — Missouri smokers pay the state only 17¢ for each pack of cigarettes they buy, and six other southern and midwestern states have taxes below 50¢.
Here are the per pack cigarette tax rates, ordered from highest to lowest: