Cost of Cigarettes

The Cost of Cigarettes: A Comprehensive Analysis by State in 2022

Cost of Cigarettes

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‍Cost of Cigarettes
Smoking is a widespread habit in the United States, but the cost of cigarettes varies significantly from state to state. In this comprehensive analysis, we will explore the average prices of cigarettes in different states, the factors influencing these prices, and the impact of taxation on smoking rates. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of the geographical trends and the financial implications of smoking in the United States.

1. Average Cigarette Prices by State

The average cost of a pack of cigarettes in the United States is $8.00, with prices ranging from $6.11 in Missouri to $11.96 in New York[^1^]. The median price for a pack of cigarettes is $7.93, and with 20 cigarettes per pack, the average cigarette costs between $0.31 and $0.60[^1^]. Both the median and average cost of a cigarette in the United States is $0.40[^1^].

Eleven states, along with the District of Columbia, have an average price above $10 per pack, while twenty-eight states have an average price below the $8 national average[^1^]. The states with the highest cigarette prices include New York ($11.96), Rhode Island ($11.71), Connecticut ($11.60), Massachusetts ($11.11), and Minnesota ($10.49)[^1^]. On the other hand, the states with the lowest cigarette prices are Missouri ($6.11), Georgia ($6.39), North Dakota ($6.55), North Carolina ($6.58), and Mississippi ($6.78)[^1^].

It is important to note that the average price of cigarettes is on the rise in the United States, with an average increase of $1.50 per pack since 2018[^1^]. This upward trend reflects the increasing cost of smoking in the country.

2. Average Annual Costs of Smoking

The cost of smoking goes beyond the price of a single pack of cigarettes. According to The American Lung Association, the average daily smoker consumes 15 cigarettes per day, resulting in a national average expenditure of $6.00 per day or $2,190 per year[^1^]. However, these costs vary significantly from state to state.

In New York, the average smoker would spend $8.97 per day or $3,274.04 every year[^1^]. On the other hand, in Missouri, the cheapest state for smokers, the average daily smoker would spend $4.58 a day or $1,672.61 per year[^1^]. These figures highlight the financial burden of smoking and the impact it can have on personal finances.

3. Geographical Trends in Cigarette Prices

Geographically, high cigarette prices tend to be concentrated in states along the northern coasts, such as New York and Washington D.C. in the Mid-Atlantic region, Rhode Island and Connecticut in the New England area, and Washington, Oregon, and California on the West Coast[^1^]. The non-contiguous states, Hawaii and Alaska, are also home to some of the nation’s highest cigarette prices[^1^].

On the other hand, the lowest prices are generally found in the Southern and Great Plains regions, where all states have an average price below the national average[^1^]. This geographical disparity in cigarette prices reflects a combination of factors, including state taxation policies and regional economic variations.

4. Taxation and Cigarette Prices

Cigarettes are subject to taxation at both the federal and state levels, with some instances of additional local and state sales tax. The federal tax rate on cigarettes is $1.01 per pack of 20 cigarettes and has remained steady since 2009[^1^]. However, there have been recent calls to increase the federal tax on tobacco products.

Each state also imposes its own tax on cigarettes, with an average of $1.91 per pack[^1^]. These state taxes range from $0.17 per pack in Missouri to $4.35 per pack in New York and Connecticut[^1^]. It is worth noting that approximately half of the states have increased their cigarette tax rates since 2012, with significant increases occurring in Oregon, Maryland, and Colorado since 2018[^1^].

Furthermore, some cities and counties may impose additional taxes on cigarettes. For example, Chicago, Illinois has the highest combined state-local tax rate at $7.16 per pack, with Evanston, Illinois following closely at $6.48 per pack[^1^]. Several states have also implemented minimum pricing laws, setting a floor price per pack of cigarettes.

The proponents of tax increases argue that higher taxes lead to a decrease in smoking rates and increased revenues[^1^]. Studies show that for every 10 percent increase in cigarette prices, consumption drops by four percent among adults and seven percent among youth[^1^]. Additionally, the revenues generated from cigarette taxes are often used to support health initiatives, education, and smoking cessation programs[^1^].

5. Prevalence of Smoking in the United States

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 14% of U.S. adults smoke regularly, with slightly higher rates among males[^1^]. The prevalence of smoking tends to be higher in regions where cigarettes are cheaper[^1^].

While smoking levels have been declining for several decades, the Federal Trade Commission reported a slight increase in cigarette sales in 2020[^1^]. However, experts predict that the overall downward trend in smoking rates will continue.

6. Health Risks of Smoking

Smoking is a well-known health risk, with severe consequences for both smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke. According to the CDC, smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and is a leading cause of premature death in the United States, contributing to over 480,000 deaths each year[^1^].

The health risks associated with smoking are extensive and include cancer, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)[^1^]. Smokers are also at increased risk for tuberculosis, immune system problems, eye diseases, and tooth loss[^1^].

These smoking-related illnesses impose a significant economic burden on the country, costing over $300 billion each year[^1^]. On a national scale, these healthcare costs average out to $17.26 per pack[^1^]. The financial impact of smoking extends beyond individual expenses and affects the healthcare system as a whole.


In conclusion, the cost of cigarettes varies significantly from state to state in the United States. Factors such as state taxation policies, geographical location, and regional economic variations contribute to these price disparities. The financial burden of smoking extends beyond the cost of a single pack, with significant annual expenses for daily smokers.

Taxation plays a crucial role in influencing smoking rates, with higher taxes leading to decreased consumption and increased revenues for health initiatives. Smoking prevalence is higher in regions where cigarettes are cheaper, although overall smoking rates have been declining.

It is important to remember that smoking poses severe health risks, causing a range of diseases and contributing to premature death. The economic impact of smoking-related illnesses is substantial, placing a burden on both individuals and the healthcare system.

As society continues to prioritize public health and smoking cessation efforts, understanding the financial implications of smoking and the factors influencing cigarette prices is crucial. By shedding light on these aspects, we can work towards a smoke-free future and improved well-being for all.

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