Five cash-strapped states up taxes on cigarettes for needed revenue

The tax increases come on the heels of a new federal law that began on Tuesday to curb tobacco tax evasion and curtail the sales of low-cost tobacco products sold online by banning the U.S. Postal Service from mailing most tobacco products and requiring Internet tobacco sellers to pay all applicable taxes and affix tax stamps before delivery. 

Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, stated the new taxes will not only bring more revenue to states, but also help to reduce the numbers of smokers within these states. 

"Higher tobacco taxes continue to be a win-win-win for the states," he said in prepared remarks. "A health win that reduces smoking and saves lives, a revenue win that helps balance budgets and fund critical programs, and a political win that is popular with voters." 

According to Myers' organization, the new taxes will raise more than $561 million in annual revenue and produce more than $5.9 billion in long-term health care savings. The levies will also prevent more than 200,000 kids and over 140,000 adults from smoking and prevent more than 120,000 smoking-caused deaths. 

Myers' organization noted that tobacco costs $96 billion a year in health care costs.  

The states with the lowest cigarette taxes are Missouri (17 cents per pack), Virginia (30 cents), Georgia (37 cents), and Alabama (42.5 cents), according to the Campaign.