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Cigarette Cost by State

Social isolation has me bored as ever, so I went and made a list of the cost of a pack of cigarettes from least to most expensive. I do not encourage smoking; I was just bored and wondered what state has the least expensive and most expensive cost of cigarettes.

Before I really dive in, I want to say that I only know the numbers. I don’t know about the correlations between bordering states. I also don’t think there is a correlation between the number of people and the increase in price because you can see on the image that Illinois and New York are orange whereas California is purple. It also depends on what pack of cigarettes you get because there are some packs that are cheaper and some are more expensive, this is just the average cost of a pack.

I know not what pack is preferred by state, but on a nationwide scale, Marlboro is the most preferred choice by a significant margin if you look at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) comparison of sales. I suppose I could do a follow up of the most popular brands of cigarettes for each state if this gets enough reads.

Right off the bat, states in the south are generally cheaper than the north, as one would most likely expect. That being said, the states with the least expensive cost of a pack of cigarettes are Missouri and Virginia tied at $5.25 per pack. A good portion of states remain in the $5 range with Tennessee at $5.30 per pack, North Dakota at $5.33 per pack, and Kentucky at $5.40 per pack. You can imagine how easy it would be for people in these states to get into smoking because a pack of cigarettes is cheaper than a meal at a fast-food restaurant which averages at $7 to $10.

Moving up in the ranks, Idaho and Wyoming are tied at $5.41 and West Virginia is barely more expensive at $5.43. Louisiana upped West Virginia by a penny at $5.44 per pack and North Carolina upped Louisiana by a penny at $5.45 per pack. Alabama is at $5.51 per pack which is quite funny because, at that point, $5.50 per pack would be more rounded but $5.51 is just funny.

Growing ever more expensive by the cents, Colorado and Oregon are at $5.65 per pack and $5.69 per pack, respectively. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really want to acknowledge Wyoming because we all know it’s not real. If you have seen a Wyoming license plate, please leave a comment on this blog for me because I would love to hear your story.

The last states remaining at $5 are Kansas at $5.83 per pack, South Carolina at $5.85 per pack, California at $5.89 per pack, and Indiana at $5.97 per pack. Indiana is almost like Alabama in that sense. Why not just say $5.99 for the fun of it like those “As Seen On TV” adverts? I remember those waxy bendy-straws. “Bendaroos.”

Easing into $6, Ohio is at $6.03 per pack and only minimally more are Arkansas and South Dakota at $6.07 and $6.08, respectively. Moving over to Nevada, if you so choose to buy a pack there it’ll cost you $6.15. Nebraska costs $6.23 per pack and Iowa and Oklahoma have it at $6.29 per pack.

If you notice, there’s a couple of states every now and again on this list that have the same price, but I don’t think it has anything to do with proximity. Iowa and Oklahoma definitely aren’t bordering each other but, arguably, they are in a similar sector of the U.S. if you want to argue that.

Moving on, Florida is at a nice round $6.30 per pack. I think I just like it when costs end in a zero. It is appealing to me. Mississippi, Delaware, and Georgia are standing at $6.34, $6.35, and $6.39. Again I really don’t think the proximity of states has anything to do with price because Delaware is the cheapest Northeastern state. Montana has us moving up with $6.46 per pack. New Hampshire and Texas are the only states in the sixties at $6.64 and $6.69 per pack. Pennsylvania and Utah are hanging out at $6.85 per pack and $6.89 per pack.

From here the price starts jumping up fast and expensive. The next state is Maine at $7.37 per pack which is a significant jump compared to when we were just chilling with a steady increase of cost in the previous states. New Mexico jumps by thirty more cents at $7.67 per pack and Maryland another ten at $7.75 per pack.

A couple of states in the low eights are Michigan at a very round $8 per pack, Arizona at $8.05 per pack, and Minnesota at $8.10 per pack. It’s going to get a little more wild again because the price jumps ten cents in New Jersey at $8.20 per pack, then Wisconsin is at $8.82 per pack. Talk about a leap. Rhode Island is not too far ahead at $8.92 per pack, but that’s the last in the eight dollar range.

In the last eight states, the cost of a pack of cigarettes is a good three dollars more than the last forty-two states which had a little over a three dollar range. Washington leads us in with $9.30 per pack, followed by Connecticut at $9.52 per pack and Hawaii at $9.55 per pack.

The top five most expensive states start off with Vermont at $9.62 per pack; then across to Canada and Alaska with $9.79 per pack; then jumping back over to Massachusetts at $9.92 per pack. Illinois sits at a whopping $11.50 for a pack of cigarettes which is almost a two-dollar increase from Massachusetts. From Illinois comes New York at the state with the highest cost for a pack of cigarettes at $12.85 per pack.

As I stated at the beginning, there is no known correlation between New York and Illinois in population and cost because of New York City and Chicago. I don’t particularly think there is a correlation between population and cost because if there was, then the midwest would have the lowest costs per pack but, generally speaking, the south does. I did notice, however, that states on the water had a higher cost than inland states. But again, that’s a correlation versus causation argument and I think it’s probably neither.

A fun thing to consider when taking in these costs is state tax ranges from $0.17 to $4.35 per pack, however, the federal tax rate has remained at $1.01 since 2009. Something interesting about this is that people have voted that they would rather continue to increase the tax on cigarettes than use that money to support widespread education on the effects of cigarettes. I understand this may be a touchy subject for some. Cigarettes and the combination of tobacco, tar, and nicotine cause lung cancer and other diseases which can result in the death of loved ones, but that gives us all the more reason to educate the masses on this.

Additionally, just because a state has a high cost for a pack of cigarettes doesn’t mean the tax is high. New York has the highest cost per pack of cigarettes, along with the highest state tax rate, but Illinois has the second-highest cost per pack and the state tax is on the lesser end at around a dollar. 

Ultimately, many things are just dependent upon what brand you purchase and which state it is and then that state tax.


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