Friday, July 12th, 2013

What A Pack Of Cigarettes Costs Now, State By State

This list has been updated, as of August 2014. Click here!

Smokers, flee New York City and head to Kentucky, where a pack of Marlboro Reds will cost you practically a third of what you’re paying now. And while you’re on the road, steer clear of New Hampshire and Vermont, too: the price for a pack has jumped 35% and 25%, respectively, over the past year.

We called a gas station—and oftentimes, when we were turned away or simply misunderstood, we called several—in the most populous city of every state in the nation and Washington D.C. and asked the clerk for the price of a pack of Marlboro Red cigarettes including tax. (Obviously, local prices will vary some.)

Here’s the current price, in bold, and also how the prices of cigarettes have changed since last summer.

48. Kentucky (last year $6.56): $4.96 = -24%

47. North Dakota ($5.03): $5.04 = +.2%

46. West Virginia ($4.84): $5.07 = +5%

45. Oklahoma ($5.24): $5.19 = -.1%

44. Idaho ($5.11): $5.25 = +3%

43. Missouri ($5.87): $5.25 = -10%

42. Louisiana ($6.50): $5.33 = -18%

41. Oregon ($5.74): $5.35 = -7%

40. Wyoming ($5.21): $5.37 = +3%

39. Mississippi ($5.55): $5.45 = -2%

38. Nevada ($6.04): $5.50 = -9%

37. South Carolina ($6.25): $5.55 = -11%

36. Colorado ($5.19): $5.59 = +8%

35. Indiana ($5.56): $5.77 = +4%

34. Alabama ($5.18): $5.80 = +12%

33. Virginia ($5.43): $5.81 = +7%

32. Ohio ($5.67): $5.88 = 4%

31. Tennessee ($4.91): $5.89 = +20%

30. Georgia ($5.93): $5.93 = 0%

29. Minnesota ($5.96): $5.95 = -.2%

28. Florida ($6.29), Delaware ($6.10): $6.00 = -5%, -2%

27. North Carolina ($5.14): $6.03 = +17%

26. Nebraska ($5.99): $6.09 = +2%

25. Kansas ($6.47): $6.21 = -4%

24. Montana ($6.12): $6.25 = +2%

23. Arkansas ($7.10): $6.50 = -8%

22. New Hampshire ($4.86): $6.59 = +35%

21. Utah ($6.88): $6.64 = -3%

20. California ($6.45), South Dakota ($6.82): $6.77 = +5%, -.7%

19. New Mexico ($6.69): $6.91 = +3%

18. Michigan ($6.50), Pennsylvania ($6.93): $6.95 = +7%, +.3%

17. Maine ($6.97): $7.12 = +2%

16. Texas ($6.89): $7.24 = +5%

15. Iowa ($7.52): $7.25 = -4%

14. D.C. ($8.27): $7.89 = -5%

13. Maryland ($6.53): $7.93 = +21%

12. Wisconsin ($7.98): $8.11= +2%

11. Washington ($8.98): $8.31 = -7%

10. New Jersey ($8.00): $8.55 = +7%

9. Massachusetts ($8.49): $8.77 = +3%

8. Connecticut ($8.85): $9.30 = +5%

7. Vermont ($7.60): $9.52 = +25%

6. Rhode Island ($8.16): $9.56 = +17%

5. Alaska ($9.39): $9.59 = +2%

4. Arizona ($7.46): $9.65 = +29%

3. Hawaii ($10.22): $9.68 = -5%

2. Illinois ($10.25): $11.59 = +13%

1. New York ($12.50): $14.50 = +16%

Sarah Jampel is an Awl summer reporter.

60 Comments / Post A Comment

brianvan (#149)

Don't forget to add the cost of cancer

@brianvan they also forgot to include the price of a few baseball bat's to ram in the asses of people who use cancer as a poor and sick excuse to make cigarettes even more expensive
do you know how much more tax you would pay if no one would smoke ?
you would be bankrupt in no time

camelface (#4,600)

so, guys, what's your favorite black market cigarette bodega?


stuffisthings (#1,352)

Queue "you are wrong!!" posts: I rarely pay more than $7 for Camel Lights in DC.

La Cieca (#1,110)

What I don't get here is that just because a couple of the editors at The Awl are addicted to something, they thing everybody who reads the blog find the subject utterly fascinating. Smoking is the most boring subject in the world, with the possible exception of how expensive it is these days to smoke.

Smoking is also stupid, no matter how ingrained it is in The Awl's editorial policy to insist that it's cool.

melis (#1,854)

@La Cieca "A couple of" aren't they the only editors at the Awl?

jolie (#16)

@La Cieca Oh hush up, Gramps. This is a traditional Awl Summer Intern Reporter exercise, leave the kids to their fun.

deepomega (#1,720)

@La Cieca Quick, show of hands, who thinks smoking is cool!

condenasty (#245,616)

@La Cieca sometimes, blogs, magazines, or online content aggregators will run stories that you don't care about. this is because the editors and reporters of these publications have interests that are not entirely coterminous with yours. fortunately you have options! for instance, instead of clicking on and reading articles that you don't care about, you can *not* click on/read articles that you don't care about.

Leon (#6,596)

@La Cieca – I quit smoking a month ago and loved this article. I've sworn to never be one of those quitters who is the worst when I quit.

And yeah, ya know? Smoking might be expensive and bad for you (I quit cuz my doctor yelled at me, like, a lot and told me I was probably going to die young – which, I'm at an age now where dying and going to dinner at 4PM are the ONLY circumstances in which I might be called young) and I'm well over the physical addiction, but I still wish I could smoke.

Because smoking is fucking awesome and it feels good and it makes you look cool and fuckin' sexy. I feel bad for everyone who is never a smoker.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Leon "Because smoking is fucking awesome and it feels good and it makes you look cool and fuckin' sexy. I feel bad for everyone who is never a smoker."

Yeah. Nothing says "cool" like trying so hard you almost set yourself on fire.

@deepomega oh, me, me, me

dado (#102)

I paid 5 dollars for two cigarettes outside a bar late last Saturday night.

heb (#23,764)

When'd you do your research? Minnesota had a cigarette tax increase on July 1st (to help pay for the Vikings stadium, but that's another topic entirely).

Werner Hedgehog (#11,170)

Kentucky must be some kind of paradise!

Mr. B (#10,093)

@Werner Hedgehog It's a wonder Balk hasn't moved there.

SS (#287,680)

@Werner Hedgehog Yeah. Paradise for cancer.

LondonLee (#922)

FOURTEEN fucking dollars for a packet of fags? Holy, er, smoke.


City_Dater (#2,500)

So all of the places where it is not possible to live without longing for death on a regular basis have cheap cigarettes.

I'd be interested if you'd included various Indian Territories (for instance, the Seneca in Western NY) because the price of cigarettes is way lower than the rest of NY State.

scrooge (#2,697)

Why are anti-smokers so indignant all the time? It's weird, like there's something so psychotic/angry about them. This article tries to explain it, but I don't feel it's correct:

Frej (#285,892)

@scrooge Wait, really? Oh, I dunno, maybe it's because smokers increase the risk for everyone around them to get cancer? Maybe it's because smoking has no value to it except extreme mental and physiological addiction? To me it's like trying to justify cocaine or really anything else that is nothing but negative for the user and the people around the user. Same with alcohol for that matter. But it makes money, so companies do not care.
What I feel is that if a person is addicted to smoking is do it in your own house, but I have no idea why it's allowed in public. I get that it's an addiction for anyone who smokes and much harder to quit for some people then others, but I feel it's just cruel and incredibly self centered for someone to get their fix at the expense of EVERYONE else around them.

That's why anti-smokers are hostile. Your addiction is not the most important thing in the world, the health of people is, and you're contributing to the health problems more, for yourself and others by smoking. But, it's an addiction and that's why it's not going to stop any time soon. It's not your choice or anyone else's to smoke, you NEED it, but still. I wish smokers were not allowed to smoke anywhere else but their home. Maybe then people would see just how addictive it really is, because smokers go nuts when they can't smoke when their brain needs a fix.

On top of that, why not just do snus or electronic cigarettes for the nicotine fix. Just SO MANY things that are frustrating about smokers.

mayberrymachiavelli (#245,643)

Hate to be that guy, but the methodology is flawed. The largest city in a state often has it's own tobacco taxes over and above state rates. Sometimes counties do as well.

New York *is* the most expensive in the nation, but they only approach $14 in New York CITY, upstate it's closer to $10. The price for Illinois reflects both a city and county tax included for Chicago, Cook County. Other cities like Seattle and Kansas City also have local taxes, making their prices higher than even neighboring suburbs.

FWIW, here's a list of state taxes on cigarettes, for anyone interested in a more consistent measure:

Now, if you really want to make this interesting, poll how much they cost in different prison systems.

SuperWittySmitty (#6,160)

@mayberrymachiavelli New tax in NYS as of July 1- try finding a pack in NYC for less than $12.

BardCollege (#2,307)

$14 is more than almost anywhere in NYC charges . Upstate $9.50 would be considered high cross the board.

SuperWittySmitty (#6,160)

Who even smokes anymore? What a loser activity. I'm glad NY is #1- anyone who insists on smoking (tobacco) should be shunned.

scrooge (#2,697)

@SuperWittySmitty Like I said above… what's the deal?

SuperWittySmitty (#6,160)

@scrooge Because the smoke smells bad? Smokers, addicts that they are, are pitiful, and the smell of the smoke reminds us that we're surrounded by weaklings

@SuperWittySmitty ok, i have a deal for you
ban all cigarettes from the USA, no, the world
lets see in how many days after you get your tax bill that you beg for the smokers to smoke again
deal ?

SuperWittySmitty (#6,160)

@Kris Codemode@facebook – Flawed logic. The recent numbers show that annual smoking-attributable economic costs in the US are estimated to be between $289 to 332.5 billion. This total includes: $132.5 to 175.9 billion for direct medical care of adults; $151 billion for lost productivity due to premature deaths; $5.6 billion for lost productivity due to exposure to secondhand smoke.

Do your homework if you want to participate in an adult conversation (even if it ended a year ago.)

50542490@twitter (#246,068)

The price for Minnesota can't be right. Effective July 1, 2013, a new tax went into effect and the mandated state minimum price for a pack of Marlboro Reds is $7.88

Michael Adam Barlow (#246,346)

The price for Massachusetts is out of date now as well. The price went up by $1 on July 31st. Marlboros are $9.96 per pack where I work now.

marzie50 (#246,569)


Clara K NYC (#247,312)

I only know that we smokers are not "hit and run" drivers. Only the drunks are bad, bad. Increase taxes for the drunks and leave us smokers alone. It is our life. We all have to die anyway.

Frej (#285,892)

@Clara K NYC As if that's true. Second hand smoke. You want to not be the drunk driver? Only smoke in your own place.

There should be places in every city where only smokers go to smoke and they smoke NO WHERE ELSE. And they have to change into a clean pair of clothes and take a shower before they're allowed to leave, because damn that stuff sticks and creates second hand smoke that way, albeit not as direct as just passing someone who smokes on the street.

Clara K NYC (#247,312)

Went to South Carolina to buy cigarettes. To date, the price for Pall Mall non-filter is $59.46 plus 5.05 (8.50%) tax = $64.51. Bought five cartons. Spent $322.55. If I had bought them in NYC where I live ($132.50 per carton), it would have been $662.50 for five cartons. Traveled with Delta miles. Will go to Kentucky next time.

francis (#247,923)

hello anyone going to tell me the exact price per pack in Washington?? cause Nevada cheap pack in less then $5.00

Teresa (#247,946)

Not sure how up to date this site is…I live in Massachusetts. A pack of Newport comes to $9.81. Just had a vacation in South Carolina. We stopped in North Carolina and cigs were $45.55 a carton total. Heading to NH today. I was told $60 carton..

Amelia16 (#251,474)

This is definitely wrong because I work in a gas station in North Carolina and a pack of Marlboro Red's is only $5.20, & that's one of our most expensive cigarettes. I find it a little unfair to your readers that you would chose to do this survey with such an expensive brand of cigarette, regardless the state it's bought in. Other Marlboro brands (72's, special blends, menthol's, etc.) are only $4.25 in my store & our cheapest cigarette that we sell is Pall Mall's & they are $3.75 a pack. This is a nice article for comparisons, but that's about it.

ace85 (#253,083)

These prices are way off. As a NYC resident, I have never seen a pack priced at $14.50. The highest is $13.50. I'm not saying that's a bargain but a better average price in NYC is $11.50-$12.
That Virginia price is off as well. Around $4.90 is more realistic.
Same for California, $5.25 is closer.
And you should never go to a gas station, they're the worst. Only go to a Tobacco/Smoke shop. Hands down best prices you will find. Yes, these are Marlboro prices too.
I should be writing this article!

Dunk (#255,078)

Yes, and the state tax on every pack of smokes is 3-4 bucks. You people who don't like smokers ask your state reps what they are doing with all the cigarette tax money. Can't smoke here, can't smoke there. Smokers are sending millions to each state gov and we are now treated like second class citizens.

Ever wonder why it cost 6-8 bucks for drink in a bar. A big part of it because smokers have quit going to bars because they can't smoke and have a beer/drink.

Been smoking for 48yrs, but it just getting too expensive. Switched to pipe tobacco, bought a machine to roll my own. Cost now is about 1.75 for 20 cigarettes and they taste just like Marlboro's which I've smoked for the last 25yrs.. You smokers should look into it. LB of tobacco is 12-13 bucks, tubes(papers)with filters are less than 2 bucks for 200 and good machine about 40 bucks. You'll need about 1200 tubes for the pound of tobacco as far I can figure. 1200 butts will cost you about 25 bucks..once you buy the machine. Start here…

Dunk (#255,078)


Sorry my math was off. That's 6 cartons of smokes for 25 bucks. That's little over 4 bucks a carton or 10 packs.. 41 cents a pack. Even if I'm off by a carton per pound depending on how much tobacco you put in each cigarette it's still in the 50 cents a pack range.. Once you get the hang of using the machine you can build 30 cigarette in 20 minutes. REgs, 100's, menthol..

Dang! Just got curious about current prices after seeing a Newport poster at $9.25 on a TV show. I'm glad I quit some years ago, but I think it's pretty jacked up how society is shaking down smokers. It's only logical to expect that when that source dries up, they're going to come up with another behavior tax to replace it. Probably going to be a massive tax increase on gas or soft drinks. We'll see how the angry anti-smoking nazis appreciate that time when it comes.

I by no means endorse smoking….but….I bought a cigarette rolling machine for about 50 bucks…..i buy a pound bag of tobacco for 12.99 and two boxes of 250 count tubes for 3.29 a box. That totals up to two and a half cartons for about 21.00 including tax. It did not take but about a week for them (my sons) to get used to the tobacco. So at a cost of about 88 cents a pack…the change was definitely worth it. Also I have bought machines for a few relatives and they are saving as well. And once you aquire the taste for the different tobacco you will see the savings grow. The tobacco comes in different flavors and blends as well. Its the same as having to change to a cheaper brand because the more "popular" brands are way to expensive to smoke. Try it….you will save money and its not hard to roll your own…takes about 5 minutes to roll a pack. I roll about 5 packs at a time in less than 30 mins and place them in air tight containers. My sons have decorative cigarette cases and no one is the wiser. Good Luck !!

You pay to kill your self

cosmo (#273,406)

Funny how cigarettes are always the blame for killing people. How about camp firers cooking on grills (charcoal) get real there is no promise to life so live it and be happy

steven spaulding (#274,660)

If all these cigarette companies are trying to get people to stop smoking then why do they keep making them?

thomas thomas (#269,800)

evic supremeIt's been good to see your blog when I always look for such type of blogs. It’s great to discover the post here.

Twinslife85 (#281,048)

Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article giocare gratis online. Thanks! keep rocking!

People crack me up when talking about not forgetting the cost of cancer. If anything the smoker pays f
or the health care cost..isn't that what the 5 dollar a day extra they pay for a pack go for. I wonder who pays for all the others, high blood pressure, obesity, on and on. Leave the smoker alone they pay.

Frej (#285,892)

@Beth Getchell Goncalo@facebook Yes, they pay, pay the companies who make the damn things in the first place. Ever heard of second hand smoke? They're contributing TO the cancer in the first place. Paying is the least they could do tax wise for health care.

Smoke in your own home around people that don't mind it. I don't understand why public smoking is legal. Probably because it's so addictive and smokers get angry when they can't smoke.

A fat person doesn't make other people fat in the same way smokers force other people to inhale what they're taking into their bodies. So your comparison just shows your heavy addiction in your justification for doing this nasty money making habit.

This list isnt accurate its more like the most expensive a pack of cigs is in each state

As always, politicians screw people the minority because they can get away with it. The biggest health care cost in the US is by far obesity. Check out the facts. They don't dare make fast food commercials illegal. $$$$$ and votes.

Frej (#285,892)

@George Baldwin@facebook They SHOULD though, neither fast food nor cigarettes nor certain types of alcohol should be legal because they are nothing but negative for everyone involved. Your argument is sugarcoating it though. An obese person is only making themselves obese. Smokers SHARE their death sentence with others who want nothing to do with it.

Given the cost of smoking too both health wise and daily expenditure, you wouldn't probably be a poor minority if you'd save the money instead.

Of course they don't make anything illegal unless it has profit to do so. Fast food and smoking are both negative, but multibillion dollar corporations laugh all the way to the bank on addicts (fast food and obesity also come from addiction. Don't think for a second your addiction is that different from someone who is overweight. It's psychological and physiological responses from alcohol, food, and cigarettes.

If anything obesity is fixable, 3 years of diet and exercise cures it. Recovery time for quitting cigarettes can be up to 10 YEARS. Ironically smoking has very similar ramifications as obesity does. Your blood vessels constrict and weaken. You're rarely in good shape, your sex drive goes down, you tend to gain weight easier, you get older faster, you'll die sooner and more are likely to get stroke, aneurism, or heart attack.

So no, a smokers comparison to obesity just shows how desperate they are to justify it. Smoking is worse and because it harms others, it's socially acceptable so people feel like they should be able to do it and find people like me, who would love to wear a mask when I go outside offensive.

Krisl1227 (#285,510)

This isn't accurate at all. I have lived in Iowa, Illinois, and Louisiana and the prices for both of those are not even close. Marlboros in Shreveport LA wer like 3.89 a pack, cheapest cigs I've ever bought. Iowa they are like 6 and a little change. Illinois is the most expensive I've lived in and the prices were no where near 11 bucks, thats insane. Marlboros are like 6.50ish not much more than iowa but a little bit. Do some actual research before you post a crazy article. It looks like you just looked up what the most expensive cigs were in the most expensive cities in each state. You didn't call around, you googled.

Krisl1227 (#285,510)

This article reminds me, for one, who do some of you think you are that you can judge others based on the fact they smoke. The should have the same rights non smokers have but they don't and its wrong. Two, you know what the difference between smokers and non smokers are? Smokers don't care if you smoke or not.

Frej (#285,892)

@Krisl1227 Excuse me for not wanting to breathe in whatever horrid crap you put in your body.

That's just stupid. Of course smokers don't care, they're already fine with destroying their bodies and lives slowly overtime.

If you want to give into your addiction, fine. Just do it in your own home and not outside where most of the world doesn't want to breathe in that multibillion dollar psychopathic company induced crap.

I don't want cancer and you're increasing everyones chances of it.

Like I said, stay at home to do it, it's THAT simple.
Because no, you shouldn't have the right to smoke outside, just as a alcoholic doesn't have the right to drive when intoxicated, because it HURTS OTHER PEOPLE.

SS (#287,680)

@Krisl1227 Yeah but the rest of us don't want to breathe your second hand smoke.

to everyone out there who thinks no matter how cig prices go up ppl are always goin to smoke so i just wish ppl who dont smoke would respect the ones who do bc u are goin to die one day regardless so live the life u love!

Post a Comment