The Unintended Consequences Of Cigarette Taxes Essay

1430 Words Sep 11th, 2016 6 Pages
The Unintended Consequences of Cigarette Taxes

In April 2009, federal legislation increased the federal tax on cigarettes from 39¢ to $1.01 per pack. The legislation claimed that this law would “bolster the federal budget while saving an estimated 900,000 lives. Supporters say the measure will stop 2 million kids from lighting up and spur about 1 million adults to quit” (Altman). Three years ago this sparked much debate; many smokers find these “sin taxes” unfair and unjust, while others are quick to point out that cigarettes have been taxed since the Civil War (Altman). Regardless, this issue has not disappeared. States also have the ability to tax cigarettes, and they generally take advantage of that power. New York state has a $4.35 tax on each pack of cigarettes sold, which is the highest in the country. The lowest state tax is in Missouri, which puts a .17¢ tax on each pack of cigarettes (Tobacco). A recent article published in September in the New York Times, “Poor Smokers in New York State Spend 25% of Income on Cigarettes, Study Finds” brings up an important consequence of cigarette taxation: “smokers earning less than $30,000 a year paid 39 percent of state and city taxes on cigarettes,” based on New York state statistics. Although the taxes are meant to make a profit and urge people to quit smoking, there has been a huge controversy over whether or not this is actually the outcome of the legislation.

Another side of this story is the “fairness” of the taxes.…

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