The higher the taxes on cigarettes in a state, the lower the proportion of the population that smokes tends to be, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Connecticut has the third highest excise tax on cigarettes in the country at $3.65 a pack, and is also the 10th lowest in percentage of smokers.
The date on smokers comes from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for 2013, the most-recent available data.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, disability, and death in the United States, according to the CDC. Each year, more than 480,000 deaths are attributed to smoking or second-hand smoke.
Officials estimate smoking is responsible for about $170 billion in direct medical costs.
Boosting the price of cigarettes through excise taxes, coupled with other policies, can stop potential new smokers or reduce the habits of those currently smoking, according to the CDC.
West Virginia and Kentucky lead the nation in the percentage of adults who smoke at about 26 percent each. Utah and California have the lowest percentages, at 10 and 13 percent respectively.
The state excise tax on cigarettes ranges from $0.17 per pack in Missouri to $4.35 per pack in New York. The federal tax remains at $1.01 per pack.
In Connecticut, young people are the most likely to have tried electronic cigarettes, as well as the most likely to smoke cigarettes.
For more information, read the Connecticut Mirror’s story on Who still smokes in Connecticut.