This paper examines U.S. tobacco taxation, the effect of cigarette taxes on smoking and on the health effects of smoking, and equity and efficiency considerations that arise when cigarette excise taxes are used to reduce smoking. Cigarette excise taxes, imposed by the Federal Government, all State governments, and nearly 400 cities and counties, add approximately 34 cents per pack to the price of cigarettes. Real cigarette excise tax rates have fallen because tax increases have not kept pace with inflation. Increases in the price of cigarettes decrease smoking, particularly by adolescents. An estimated 100,000 additional persons may live to the age of 65 as a result of doubling the Federal cigarette tax in 1983. Because cigarette taxes are regressive and are borne primarily by smokers, inequities may arise when they are used to reduce smoking. Success in achieving a tobacco-free society will require that tobacco taxes be replaced with alternative sources of revenue.