taxation without respiration

how much would the average pack of cigarettes be if one subtracted all the taxes on them? I’m getting them pretty cheap right now ($2.50 a pack, before 7% sales tax) (god save Wawa), but I wonder.

Pennsylvania’s state cigarette tax was 31¢ per pack in 1999. It may be more now. See a table of cigarette taxes by state, 1999 Virginia’s tax is only 2.5¢ per pack, but it is illegal to transport more than one carton of cigarettes into Pennsylvania from outside. Alaska and Hawaii had the highest taxes, at $1 per pack.

The Federal cigarette tax was 24¢ per pack as of early 1999. The tax was scheduled to rise to 39¢ by 2002.

But unfortunately, the answer is probably unknowable. Taxes (especially high ones like those on ciggies) tend to distort pricing.

So if you assume taxes go to zero, it is still impossible to know with a high degree of confidence how much of the tax reduction would be reflected in the price of a pack, how much would go to retailers, distributors and the manufacturer, how many additional packs might be sold at a lower price, etc.

A carton of Marlboro Red Box in Mexico goes for 11 bucks. That’s $1.10 per pack for the math-impaired. I imagine there’re probably taxes on that amount, too.

Now just be honest and have a prescription when you cross the border…

Taxation Without Respiration is not cigarette tax. It is the estate tax.

–Nott, the large

AskNott, I’ll get back to you after thirty more years and another 300,000 Reds