Cigarette and Tobacco Taxes

The nation’s first federal cigarette tax was enacted in 1864 as a Civil War revenue measure. In 2005 the federal cigarette tax stood at 37 cents per pack. The nation’s first state-level cigarette excise tax was enacted in Iowa in 1921. By 1969 all 50 U.S. states had followed suit. In 2005 state-level cigarette taxes ranged from 7 cents per pack in South Carolina to $2.46 per pack in Rhode Island. The wide variety of state cigarette excise taxes provides opportunities for consumers to shop for bargains across borders—and for smugglers to make substantial profits.

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