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Tobacco Pricing and Norms

In Philadelphia, a pack of cigarettes costs about $10, including both the $2/pack Philadelphia tax and the $2.60/pack Pennsylvania state tax. This is comparable to other large cities like Chicago and New York City. Higher cigarette prices help to:

  • keep people from starting to smoke
  • motivate people to quit smoking
  • reduce the number of cigarettes consumed by smokers

 

On average, for every 10% increase in the price of tobacco, there is a 2%-4% decrease in use among the general population and a 4%-6% decrease in use among youth and young adults. Philadelphia’s $2 per pack tax—along with continued tobacco control activities—is expected to lead to approximately 40,000 fewer adult smokers and 1,000-2,000 fewer youth smokers.

Low-income Groups and Minorities Benefit the Most from a Cigarette Tax Increase

Cigarette companies argue that cigarette taxes are regressive and unfairly target low-income groups. The truth is that cigarette companies have a long history of targeting and disproportionately advertising to low-income groups and minorities.

Low-income smokers stand the most to gain from a cigarette price increase. They are more likely to quit and thereby avoid the medical, financial, and emotional costs of continued smoking.

A Cigarette Tax Will Benefit the Economy with Minimal Impact on Retailers

A $2 per pack tax in Philadelphia—along with continued tobacco control activities—is expected to lead to $48 million in yearly health care savings and $28 million in yearly productivity gains for area employers within four years.

Tobacco companies claim that retailers are harmed when cigarette taxes are increased. In fact, jurisdictions actually benefit from higher cigarette taxes, which can result in new jobs created.

People who quit smoking have more disposable income to spend on other goods and services.

Studies show that even with higher taxes, most smokers are likely to continue to buy cigarettes locally or to quit rather than to purchase them out of county. Revenue from the Philadelphia cigarette tax goes directly to support the School District of Philadelphia


Find Out More


For more information, visit SmokeFree Philly or call 311.