Cigarette taxes. The straw to break the camel's back

Public Health Rep. 1997 Jul-Aug;112(4):290-7.


Teenage cigarette smoking is sensitive to the price of cigarettes. The most recent research suggests that a 10% increase in price would reduce the number of teenagers who smoke by 7%. If the proposed 43-cent hike in the Federal excise tax rate on cigarettes contained in the Hatch-Kennedy Bill were enacted, the number of teenage smokers would fall by approximately 16%. This translates into more than 2.6 million fewer smokers and more than 850,000 fewer smoking-related premature deaths in the current cohort of 0 to 17-year-olds. Adjusted for inflation, the current 24-cent-a-pack tax costs the buyer about half of the original cigarette tax of 8 cents imposed in 1951. A substantial tax hike would curb youth smoking; this strategy should move to the forefront of the antismoking campaign.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Humans
  • Smoking / economics*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Taxes / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • United States / epidemiology