New Jersey wants to raise the price of cigarettes to nearly $12 per pack

February 25, 2020, 5:50 PM UTC
Cigarette Packs-Convenience Store
A store employee sits behind the counter next to a display of Philip Morris International Inc. Marlboro brand cigarettes inside a liquor store in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., on Friday, Oct. 2, 2015. Philip Morris International is expected to release their next quarterly earnings figures on October 15. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Luke Sharrett—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em, but be aware that doing so may cost you a lot more in New Jersey soon.

Gov. Philip D. Murphy is expected to release a proposed budget Tuesday that will increase the state’s cigarette tax to $4.35, which (if approved) will be the highest in the country. That would drive the price of a pack of smokes up to roughly $12.

The budget calls for a $1.65 per pack increase in the tax. It would be the first cigarette tax increase in the state since 2009. And it would put the Garden State on the same level as New York and Connecticut, which also charge $4.35 per pack.

Missouri is at the other end of the spectrum, charging just 17 cents per pack.

New Jersey, in recent months, has launched a notable crackdown on smoking. Last month, it outlawed the same of flavored vaping liquids.

Price is one of the biggest (and most effective) tools states have to curb smoking, which is one of the biggest preventable causes of death in the United States. And tax increases have the backing of both smokers and nonsmokers, if the money is used to fund healthcare programs.

While the proposed new cost of cigarettes in New Jersey is certainly high, it won’t set records. Just a few miles away, city taxes in New York have driven the price of a pack to over $13.

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