Price of a Pack of Cigarettes the Year You Were Born

June 14, 2017 by Steven M. Peters

Source: Thinkstock
A pack of cigarettes cost just 25 cents in the 1950s. At a time when the general public was not aware of the harms of smoking, cigarettes were cheap and widely popular.

Since 1965, the adult smoking rate has fallen from 42% to 15%. Despite the decline, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for nearly half a million deaths each year.

Following the Surgeon General’s landmark 1964 report on smoking and health, governments employed many strategies to reduce the smoking rate. While warning labels on packaging, anti-smoking media campaigns, and health education in schools play an important role in promoting a smoke-free lifestyle, the most effective method to reducing cigarette consumption has been increasing the retail price of a pack of cigarettes by raising taxes.

The average cost of a pack of cigarettes, including all taxes, in the United States today is $6.16. Of this, excise taxes amount to $2.70 — $1.01 in federal cigarette tax and $1.69 in state cigarette tax on average. In some areas like New York City, high local taxes drive the price of cigarettes to over $10 per pack.

To highlight how the price of cigarettes has changed over time, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the average price per pack since 1954.

Click here to see the cost of a pack of cigarettes the year you were born.
Click here to see the detailed findings & methodology.

Source: Seattle Municipal Archives / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.23
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.11
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.44
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,380 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 18.6 per 100,000

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Source: Seattle Municipal Archives / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.23
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.11
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.47
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,322 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 19.8 per 100,000

Source: ABC Television / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.24
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.11
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.48
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,346 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 21.1 per 100,000

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.25
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.12
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.50
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,397 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 21.9 per 100,000

Source: National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.26
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.12
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.51
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,437 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 22.6 per 100,000

Source: The Sporting News Archives / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.26
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.13
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.51
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,544 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 23.7 per 100,000

Source: Alden Jewell / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.26
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.13
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.49
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,645 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 24.8 per 100,000

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Source: The U.S. National Archives / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.26
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.13
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.46
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,664 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 26.1 per 100,000

Source: Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.27
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.13
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.49
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,668 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 27.4 per 100,000

Source: Executive Office of the President of the United States / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.28
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.14
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.54
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,707 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 28.6 per 100,000

Source: Harry Pot, / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.28
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.14
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.53
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,626 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 29.6 per 100,000

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Source: Seattle Municipal Archives / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.30
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.16
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.61
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,702 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 31.1 per 100,000

Source: Nationaal Archief / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.31
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.16
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.59
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,663 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 32.7 per 100,000

Source: JOHN LLOYD / Flickr

> Avg. price per pack: $0.32
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.16
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.64
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,680 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 34.3 per 100,000

Source: Ollie Atkins, White House photographer / Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.33
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.16
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.61
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,640 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 37.1 per 100,000

Source: NASA / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.37
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.18
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.74
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,603 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 38.5 per 100,000

Source: CBS Television / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.39
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.19
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.74
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,534 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 40.2 per 100,000

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Source: Leena A. Krohn / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.40
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.20
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.72
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,648 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 41.9 per 100,000

Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.40
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.20
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.67
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,631 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 43.4 per 100,000

Source: sterferg / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.42
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.20
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.65
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,702 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 44.2 per 100,000

Source: ABC Television / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.45
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.20
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.59
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,835 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 45.8 per 100,000

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Source: O'Halloran, Thomas J. / Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.48
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.20
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.58
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,698 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 46.9 per 100,000

Source: White House Photograph Courtesy Gerald R. Ford Library / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.49
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.20
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.54
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,905 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 48.7 per 100,000

Source: Derzsi Elekes Andor / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.54
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.20
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.59
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,778 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 50.2 per 100,000

Source: Steve Morgan / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.57
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.20
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.56
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,818 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 51.7 per 100,000

Source: Thomas J. O'Halloran, U.S. News & World Report / Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.60
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.20
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.51
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,821 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 52.4 per 100,000

Source: Bogaerts, Rob / Anefo / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.63
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.21
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.43
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,752 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 54.2 per 100,000

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Source: White House Photographic Office / The National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.70
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.21
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.45
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,796 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 54.8 per 100,000

Source: Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.82
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.21
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.62
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,757 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 56.5 per 100,000

Source: Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.95
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.31
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.80
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,591 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 57.4 per 100,000

Source: Marcin Wichary / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $0.98
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.32
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.79
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,550 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 58.4 per 100,000

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $1.05
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.32
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.84
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,501 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 59.3 per 100,000

Source: A1C Nancy Smelser / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $1.10
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.33
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.90
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,434 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 60.0 per 100,000

Source: Virginia Tehan / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $1.19
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.34
> Inflation adjusted price: $1.99
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,404 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 61.2 per 100,000

Source: National Park Service / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $1.30
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.34
> Inflation adjusted price: $2.09
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,263 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 61.8 per 100,000

Source: Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $1.44
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.38
> Inflation adjusted price: $2.23
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,156 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 62.6 per 100,000

Source: Andrew Thomas / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $1.53
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.39
> Inflation adjusted price: $2.27
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,060 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 63.5 per 100,000

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Source: U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $1.74
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.45
> Inflation adjusted price: $2.49
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,023 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 63.6 per 100,000

Source: Gary B. Edstrom / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $1.84
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.46
> Inflation adjusted price: $2.57
> Annual consumption per capita: 2,009 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 63.3 per 100,000

Source: Official White House photograph / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $1.69
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.53
> Inflation adjusted price: $2.31
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,950 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 63.3 per 100,000

Source: Andrea Booher / FEMA / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $1.76
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.55
> Inflation adjusted price: $2.35
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,801 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 62.5 per 100,000

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Source: NASA / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $1.80
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.57
> Inflation adjusted price: $2.35
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,831 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 62.2 per 100,000

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $1.85
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.57
> Inflation adjusted price: $2.38
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,820 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 61.5 per 100,000

Source: Kees de Vos / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $1.95
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.62
> Inflation adjusted price: $2.46
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,804 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 61.0 per 100,000

Source: Flickr user Kevin Jarrett / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $2.18
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.63
> Inflation adjusted price: $2.72
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,735 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 60.3 per 100,000

Source: Grj23 / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $2.93
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.65
> Inflation adjusted price: $3.61
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,621 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 58.5 per 100,000

Source: Rob Boudon / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $3.12
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.76
> Inflation adjusted price: $3.76
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,551 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 58.7 per 100,000

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Source: SFC Thomas R. Roberts / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $3.37
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $0.77
> Inflation adjusted price: $3.98
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,512 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 58.1 per 100,000

Source: Sergeant Joseph R. Chenelly, United States Marine Corps / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $3.72
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $1.00
> Inflation adjusted price: $4.33
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,489 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 57.5 per 100,000

Source: National Archive Catalog / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $3.72
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $1.12
> Inflation adjusted price: $4.24
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,434 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 56.6 per 100,000

Source: Tech. Sgt. Jerry Morrison Jr., U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $3.74
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $1.17
> Inflation adjusted price: $4.17
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,362 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 55.6 per 100,000

Source: Jocelyn Augustino / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $3.89
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $1.31
> Inflation adjusted price: $4.21
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,320 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 55.0 per 100,000

Source: Kjetil Ree / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $3.93
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $1.34
> Inflation adjusted price: $4.14
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,293 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 53.7 per 100,000

Source: Ben Stanfield / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $4.20
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $1.46
> Inflation adjusted price: $4.33
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,247 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 52.6 per 100,000

Source: CODEPINK Women For Peace / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $4.35
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $1.59
> Inflation adjusted price: $4.35
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,172 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 51.3 per 100,000

Source: Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo, U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $5.32
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $2.33
> Inflation adjusted price: $5.32
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,102 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 50.0 per 100,000

Source: U.S. Coast Guard / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $5.55
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $2.46
> Inflation adjusted price: $5.46
> Annual consumption per capita: 1,001 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 48.9 per 100,000

Source: David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $5.61
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $2.48
> Inflation adjusted price: $5.39
> Annual consumption per capita: 969 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 47.4 per 100,000

Source: New Jersey National Guard / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $5.65
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $2.50
> Inflation adjusted price: $5.32
> Annual consumption per capita: 921 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 46.3 per 100,000

Source: White House / Sonya Hebert / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $5.76
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $2.56
> Inflation adjusted price: $5.35
> Annual consumption per capita: 894 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 44.6 per 100,000

Source: TechCrunch / Wikimedia Commons

> Avg. price per pack: $5.84
> State and federal cigarette taxes: $2.56
> Inflation adjusted price: $5.35
> Annual consumption per capita: 845 cigarettes
> Lung & bronchus cancer deaths: 43.3 per 100,000

Detailed Findings & Methodology

Increasing excise taxes has become a common and effective tool for federal, state, and local governments to reduce smoking. The largest federal cigarette excise tax increase went into effect on April 1, 2009 when the $0.39 tax was raised to $1.01 per pack. That year, nationwide pack sales declined by 8.3%, the largest single-year decline since 1932.

According to non-profit organization and tobacco consumption reduction advocate, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, statewide cigarette tax increases of at least 50 cents a pack have generally also led to a significant reduction in cigarette sales in the state. Between 2006 and 2015, there were 26 tobacco tax hikes of 50 cents or more in 23 states and the District of Columbia. One year after those increases, cigarette pack sales fell by at least 10% compared to the 12 months prior in all but three cases.

Partially due to recent tax increases, the average price of a pack of cigarettes in the United States, even after adjusting for inflation, is at a near record high. In 2014, federal and state taxes accounted for 43.8% of the retail price of a pack. During the 1980s and 1990s, taxes hovered between one-third and one-fourth of the retail price of a pack of cigarettes.

Cigarette consumption peaked in the 1960s and 1970s at above 2,500 cigarettes per capita a year. Over the next several decades, cancer diagnoses rose, and by 1991 the incidence of death from lung cancer had reached a record high.

Trailing the steady decline since the early 1980s in the adult smoking rate, the cancer death rate has declined as well from the 1991 peak. For every American, 845 cigarettes were consumed in 2014, a third of the amount smoked during 1960s and 1970s. The lung and bronchus cancer death rate fell from 64 per 100,000 people in 1991 to 43 per 100,000 in 2014 — and will likely continue to fall.

To determine the cost of a pack of cigarettes the year you were born, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the average weighted retail price of a pack of cigarettes from the 2015 Tax Burden on Tobacco report from the Federation of Tax Administrators. State and federal cigarette taxes for each year as well as annual consumption per capita also came from this report. Inflation adjusted prices per pack are in chained 2009 dollars. The rate of lung and bronchus cancer deaths came from the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts & Figures 2017 report.