Smoking as a regressive taxConsider a married couple with a $30,000 a year income. If each spouse smokes a pack a day and they live in a state where cigarettes cost an average of, say, $6.00 a pack, they will devote 15 percent of their very limited income to cigarettes. Six percent of their income will go to cigarette taxes alone. If they live in New York City, the city’s new minimum price per pack of $10.50 will drain a full quarter of their income. Some low-income New Yorkers surely pay more in tobacco taxes than they do in taxes to support Social Security and Medicare.