A pack of Marlboro Reds, including tax, could run from $4.74 per pack all the way to $11.90 across the United States, and the rock-bottom price can be found in West Virginia.
TheAwl.com, a “discussion” website, published a list Thursday its writer compiled by calling a gas station in each state’s most populous city, then asking the clerk for the price of a pack of Marlboro Reds with tax.
Several debates at the Legislature each year discuss raising the tax West Virginia puts on a pack of cigarettes. The most recent hike was 17 cents in 2003, which one local health official said isn’t enough to dissuade most smokers.
“What they have found is that when they raise it by $1, a tremendous amount of benefit occurs, because people quit,” said Kanawha County Health Officer Rahul Gupta, MD. “In fact, those who can’t afford it tend to quit more, and those are the same folks who don’t have insurance.
The most expensive pack of cigarettes was $11.90 in New York. Ohio fell in the middle of the list at $6.22, Pennsylvania’s pack cost $6.80 and a pack in Virginia costs $5.55.