New Cigarette Taxes Could be on Ballot in Hesitant States

Jul 4, 2016

Credit Sudipto Sarkar / flickr

Just three states — Missouri, North Dakota and California — have held cigarette taxes flat since the turn of century.

But that could soon change. Petitions are seeking to put higher cigarette taxes on the fall ballot in all three of those holdout states, as well as Colorado.

Victories by anti-tobacco advocates would add to a surge that has already raised tens of billions of dollars for states. Higher taxes have also helped drive down the nation's smoking rate, from about a quarter of adults in 1990 to fewer than 17 percent in the most recent surveys.

An entire generation has come of age since the last time Missouri raised its cigarette tax, from 13 cents a pack to 17 cents, in 1993. It's the lowest tax in the nation.