Poll: Would You Favor a Cigarette Tax?

Measure was just narrowly defeated in California.

While much of the political world was focused on Wisconsin and the recall vote of Gov. Scott Walker, voters in California were faced with the choice to raise the cigarette tax by a dollar a pack. The issue, known as Proposition 29, would have hiked the tax on a pack of cigarettes from 87 cents to $1.87.

In the spring, the measure appeared well on its way to passing, but tobacco companies poured millions of dollars ($46 million by one estimate) into advertising campaigns. By contrast, anti-smoking groups raised $18 million. That difference was thought to be the difference as the proposition was narrowly defeated 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent.

The measure, which was backed by Lance Armstrong, would have raised money for cancer research and anti-smoking initiatives aimed at children.

California’s cigarette tax hasn’t been raised since 2000 and the rate of 87 cents is well below the national average of $1.46.

By contrast, in South Carolina the tax is just 57 cents per pack, ranking it in the bottom 10 nationally at 42nd. Missouri has the lowest rate at 17 cents.

Given that South Carolina is so far below the national average, would you favor an increase? Vote and chime in below.

Pat June 11, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Ok - I get that we don't want our children taking up the habit of smoking. I also get that there are smokers who want to quit. But for the people who do not want to quit, we have to remember that smoking cigarettes is legal and some of the statistics that everyone should be looking at is how much those taxes contribute not just to cessation campaigns but to the regular tax base both federal and state (its in the billions). Where do you think ALL of that money will come from if the the cigarette tax base dries up? What will be the next thing they will come up with to heavily tax? Your fast food?, your beer or booze (also addicting), groceries, perhaps just soda. These taxes are really not about the campaigns to get people not to start or to quit. Its about keeping the budgets afloat. Just food for thought.
JoSCh June 11, 2012 at 08:33 PM
If you're right about the amount and where the tax goes (and I'm not sure you are) good, spread the tax burden around. The only reason they'd be taxed more than other Americans is because they don't have a lobby anymore. Being rich sure would be awesome!
stanley seigler June 11, 2012 at 08:50 PM
@Pat: "...for the people who do not want to quit..." weel Allison has the answer: "...If you are contributing to the problems by smoking, then you should foot more of the bill for it..." ditto for drunks, pig outers...and need some kinda tax on all sinners who abuse their bodies and mind...:) re: These taxes are really not about the campaigns to get people not to start or to quit. Its about keeping the budgets afloat. Just food for thought point taken but even if it's only to balance budget...the serendipity is it does, "the American Cancer Society estimates, 220,000 kids would never start smoking and 100,000 adults would quit rather than pay the extra $1 per pack to fund research on tobacco-related diseases." [this just in CA]
JoSCh June 12, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Why should there be a tax on "sinners" who abuse THEIR bodies and minds? Re an extra $1 a pack, how'd that work out for your wife? The cost of cigarettes was something to complain about but never a deterrent for me and I doubt it is for many. And it's effectively a regressive tax, something you're usually against...
Robert Kelly June 13, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Can't argue with your points that contributors to the problem should foot the bill, but to be a little bit the contrarian, a study conducted in Europe demonstrated that smoking does not increase the cost of health care. Sure, smokers get sick, but on the other hand, they die sooner. If they did not smoke, they would have eventually gotten some other illness and died anyway (at least the way it has worked so far) and required medical care. In the meantime, the taxes they pay for their tobacco contribute a great deal to the public coffers, and their early demise reduces the costs of Social Security (or whatever Europeans call it) and retirement plans. So overall, smokers do not cost the rest of us; they contribute more in their "sin taxes" than they cost when you compare them to what everyone else costs in the long run. And to be honest, smokers are usually more sociable and fun to hang out with.


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