Up in smoke
Apr 7th 2009
Where governments tax cigarettes the most
ON APRIL 1st America's government announced a big increase in taxes on cigarettes. Federal taxes leapt from 39 cents to $1.01 a packet. American smokers also pay state taxes ranging from 17 cents in Missouri to a whopping $2.75 in New York. Anti-smoking campaigners argue that higher taxes encourage smokers to quit and deter others from taking up the habit. But high taxes do not always mean expensive cigarettes. In Estonia and Slovakia, where more than 90% of the price of cigarettes goes in taxes, a packet of 20 Marlboros costs $2.22 and $2.72 respectively. In some countries tobacco companies decide to cut profits to ensure that people keep puffing. It may work. In Estonia half the population smoke; in Slovakia 42% like a crafty puff.