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Mississippi Taxes on Cigarettes and Food: A Survey of Self-Identified Registered Voters Age 18+

Mississippi has the highest food tax in the nation and is one of only seven states applying a sales tax to all food purchased for home consumption. At the same time, its 18 cents per pack cigarette tax is the third lowest in the U.S. While collecting only $43 million annually in cigarette tax revenues, the state spends about $719 million a year on smoking-related illnesses.

During the 2006 Mississippi legislative session, a bill was proposed to increase the state’s cigarette tax by $1 per pack and reduce the 7 percent sales tax on food by half, thereby maintaining the current level of state funds by offsetting one tax with another.

This survey of age 18+ self-identified registered Mississippi voters gauges their attitudes and opinions regarding this issue, and finds that...

  • 55 percent support increasing the cigarette tax by $1
  • 80 percent support a reduction in the state’s tax on food
  • 85 percent would like to see the food tax reduced by half or eliminated entirely
  • 72 percent support proposed legislation to increase the cigarette tax by $1 per pack and reduce the food tax by half
  • 50 percent would be more likely to vote for state representatives or a state senators supporting a bill to increase the cigarette tax and reduce the food tax

The telephone survey of 803 age 18+ Mississippi self-identified registered voters was conducted for AARP by Alan Newman Research, Inc. between August 31st and September 12th, 2006. For more information, contact Joanne Binette at 202-434-6303.(20 pages)

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