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Fewer States Raising Cigarette Taxes, CDC Says

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Eight states raised cigarette taxes between 2010 and 2011, compared with 15 states in 2009, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As cigarette prices go up, smoking rates decline, according to the CDC.

“Increasing cigarette excise taxes directly increases the price of cigarettes, thereby reducing the demand for cigarettes and, ultimately, smoking-related death and disease,” the report’s authors wrote in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The national average cigarette excise tax in the United States rose from $1.34 per pack in 2009, to $1.46 in 2011, HealthDay reports. New York’s tax is the highest, at $4.35 per pack. Missouri’s tax is the lowest, at 17 cents.

Taxes on cigarettes have increased even in major tobacco-growing states, the article notes. The average cigarette tax in Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia increased from 40 cents a pack in 2009, to 49 cents a pack in 2011.

New Hampshire decreased its cigarette tax by 10 cents a pack in 2011, the first time since 2004 that a state has lowered its cigarette tax.

The CDC stated that cigarette excise tax increases can raise state revenue, even if smoking declines. The agency urged states to invest excise tax revenue in tobacco prevention and control programs.

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