Taxing Tobacco by Risk

Policy Reports | Taxes

No. 331
Thursday, January 13, 2011
by Pamela Villarreal

Excise taxes are fees levied on specific products like cigarettes, beer and gasoline. Unlike broad-based taxes, such as general sales or income taxes, excises are often paid by a narrow subset of the population, such as smokers, consumers of alcohol and so forth. These taxes are often hidden from consumers because they are embedded in a product's retail price. Some excise taxes are called "sin" taxes because they are levied on undesirable behaviors such as smoking and drinking.

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