Cigarette taxes go up Wednesday, smokers tossing in towel

Image by Flickr user FadderUri Image by 20090331-tax.jpg

Cigarette taxes started going up a while back, and tomorrow the new federal tax of $1.01 a pack (up 62 cents) goes into effect.

Topping that off, the state is considering raising its tax by 50 cents.

The increase in tax (and downturn in the economy) has many people saying enough and kicking the habit. 

Read more stories on this subject in our smoking topic page.Yesterday the Associated Press wrote about the topic and includes national business aspects. Today The State follows up with a more limited story that focuses on South Carolina

The decline in smoking creates an interesting paradox: Many health programs survive on cigarette tax revenue, but as smokers stop smoking and become healthier their kicking of the habit will choke health programs.

So, smoke a pack today: It's for the health of the nation. -- But, in seriousness, I imagine the long-term heath costs of smoking (and the non-tax price of cigarettes) outweigh any lost tax revenue. 

Oh, and here's some math for you: If you smoke a pack a day, the new federal tax will take $226. That total goes up to $409 if the state ups its tax to. And that's on top of the thousand or so dollars a year you've already been spending.

If you can't tell, I'm not a smoker and I do like to give my smoker friends grief.