Connecticut has nation’s second highest cigarette tax rate

Connecticut has the nation’s second highest cigarette tax rate at $3.90, following the state’s 25-cent tax increase that went into effect July 1.

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK)New York has the nation’s highest cigarette tax rate ($4.35), while Rhode Island has the third highest rate ($3.75) and Massachusetts has the fourth ($3.51).

The average state cigarette tax is $1.63 per pack, according to CTFK, with the average cigarette tax in major tobacco states being 48.5 cents per pack, and the average cigarette tax in non-tobacco states being $1.78 per pack. These rates do not include the $1.01 per-pack federal cigarette tax.

Connecticut increased its cigarette tax by 25 cents in 2015 and by 40 cents in 2011. Between 2002 and 2016, Connecticut’s cigarette tax increased 251% — from $1.11 to $3.90.

According to the CTFK, tobacco tax increases are good for people's health and state budgets.

"Every state that has significantly increased its cigarette tax has enjoyed substantial increases in revenue, even while reducing smoking," according to the CTFK, which found that:

  • Every 10% increase in cigarette prices reduces total cigarette consumption by about 4%.

  • "Higher tobacco taxes also save money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs, including Medicaid expenses."

In 2014, one in six (15.4%) of Connecticut residents 18 years or older reported smoking cigarettes “every day” or “some days,” according to the 2014 Connecticut Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Report — the 10th lowest in percentage of smokers in the nation.

According to the 2014 BRFSS Report, the risk of cigarette-smoking was “significantly greater” for the following groups:

  • Males (17.5%), compared to females (13.5%).

  • Adults ages 18-34 (19.3%) and adults ages 35-54 (18.5%).

  • Hispanics (20.6%) compared to non-Hispanic white adults (14.1%).

  • Adults living in households with annual incomes of $35,000-$74,999 (16.2%), and less than $35,000 (24.1%).

  • Uninsured adults (26.9%).

  • Disabled individuals, among whom one in four were smokers (25.6%).

  • Adults with no more than a high school education (22.5%).

In 2014, 28% of Connecticut adults reported being former smokers.