Tobacco use in Pennsylvania 2021
Cigarette use: Pennsylvania
Cigarette smoking rates in Pennsylvania
- In 2020, 15.8% of adults smoked. Nationally, the rate was 15.5%.1
- In 2019, 6.6% of high school students in Pennsylvania smoked cigarettes on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 6.0%.2
Other tobacco product use: Pennsylvania
Vaping rates in Pennsylvania
- In 2017, 4.7% of adults in Pennsylvania used e-cigarettes.3
- In 2020, 4.2% of adults in Pennsylvania used smokeless tobacco.3
- In 2019, 24.4% of high school students in Pennsylvania used electronic vapor products on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 32.7%.2
- In 2019, 3.9% of high school students in Pennsylvania used chewing tobacco, snuff or dip on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 3.8%.2
- In 2019, 5.9% of high school students in Pennsylvania smoked cigars, cigarillos or little cigars on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 5.7%.2
Economics of tobacco use and tobacco control
Pennsylvania cigarette tax
- Pennsylvania received $1.62 billion (estimated) in revenue from tobacco settlement payments and taxes in fiscal year 2021.4
- Of this, the state allocated $14.7 million in state funds to tobacco prevention in fiscal year 2021, 10.5% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual spending target.4
- Smoking-caused health care costs: $6.38 billion per year.4
- Smoking-caused losses in productivity: $5.73 billion per year.5
Pennsylvania tobacco laws
Pennsylvania smoking laws
- Pennsylvania is ranked 15th in the U.S. for its cigarette tax of $2.60 per pack (enacted August 2016), compared to the national average of $1.91. (The District of Columbia has the highest tax at $4.50 and Missouri has the lowest at 17 cents.)6-8
- Little cigars weighing under four pounds per thousand are taxed at 13 cents per cigar.
- E-cigarettes are taxed at 40% of the purchase price charged to the retailer.
- Roll-your-own and smokeless tobacco are taxed at 55 cents per ounce on all fractional parts of an ounce.6,7
Clean indoor air ordinances
- Smoking is prohibited in government workplaces, private workplaces, schools, childcare facilities, retail stores and recreational/cultural facilities.6,7
- Smoking restrictions are required in restaurants and casinos/gaming establishments (tribal establishments are exempt).6,7
- There are no smoking restrictions for bars.6,7
- E-cigarettes are prohibited in schools, on school vehicles and on school property owned or leased or under the control of a school district.9
- Retailers and wholesalers are required to obtain a license to sell tobacco products.6
- Retailers and wholesalers are required to obtain a license to sell e-cigarette products.9
Youth access laws
- Effective December 2019, the United States adopted a law raising the federal minimum age of sale of all tobacco products to 21. Some states have not yet raised their state minimum age of sale, however, the federal law takes precedence.
- Only sales clerks are allowed access to tobacco products prior to sale, unless the tobacco products are located within the line of sight or under the control of a cashier or other employee and unless it is a retail stores which derives 75% or more of sales revenue from tobacco products.6
- The sale of e-cigarettes to persons under age 21 (or under age 18 if military member or veteran) is prohibited. 9
- Self-service displays of e-cigarettes are restricted to specialty tobacco stores. 9
- Vending machine sales of e-cigarettes are prohibited in locations accessible to underage persons (or under age 18 if military member or veteran). 9
- Underage persons (or under age 18 if military member or veterans) are prohibited from buying e-cigarettes. 9
Local tobacco Laws
- Philadelphia restricts the number of tobacco retailers to one per 1,000 people in each planning district and prohibits new tobacco retailers within 500 feet of a school.10
- Philadelphia prohibits the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes and the sale of cartridges or pods containing more than 20 milligrams per millimeter of nicotine, except in adult-only stores.11
- Philadelphia prohibits the sale of flavored cigarillos. However, a preliminary injunction was granted against the law.11
Quitting statistics and benefits
Quitting vaping and smoking in Pennsylvania
- The CDC estimates 49.7% of daily adult smokers in Pennsylvania quit smoking for one or more days in 2019.3
- In 2014, the Affordable Care Act required that Medicaid programs cover all tobacco cessation medications.7**
- Pennsylvania’s state quit line invests $1.26 per smoker, compared to the national average of $2.28.7
- Pennsylvania does not have a private insurance mandate provision for cessation.7
Notes and references
Updated August 2021
*National and state-level prevalence numbers reflect the most recent data available. This may differ across state fact sheets.
**The seven recommended cessation medications are NRT gum, NRT patch, NRT nasal spray, NRT inhaler, NRT lozenge, Varenicline (Chantix) and Bupropion (Zyban).
Fiore MC, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service: May 2008.
1. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2020.
2. CDC, Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System, 2019.
3. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System, 2021.
4. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Broken Promises to Our Children: a State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 22 Years Later FY2021, 2020.
5. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Toll of Tobacco in the United States.
6. American Lung Association, State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues (SLATI).
7. American Lung Association, State of Tobacco Control, 2021.
8. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. State Cigarette Excise Tax Rates & Rankings. https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/factsheets/0097.pdf. Accessed.
9. Public Health Law Center. U.S. E-Cigarette Regulation: 50-State Review. http://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/resources/us-e-cigarette-regulations-50-state-review. Accessed.
10. City of Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Regulation Relating to Tobacco Retailing. http://www.phila.gov/health/pdfs/TobaccoRetailingRegulation.pdf. Published 2016. Accessed.
11. Truth Initiative, Local restrictions on flavored tobacco and e-cigarette products. https://truthinitiative.org/research-resources/emerging-tobacco-products/local-restrictions-flavored-tobacco-and-e-cigarette.