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Fact Sheet Fact Sheet

Tobacco use in Rhode Island 2023

Cigarette use: Rhode Island*

Cigarette smoking rate in Rhode Island

  • In 2022, 11.8% of adults smoked. Nationally, adult smoking prevalence was 14.0%.1
  • In 2021, 3.0% of high school students in Rhode Island smoked cigarettes on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, smoking prevalence among high school students was 3.8%.2

Other tobacco product use: Rhode Island*

Vaping rate in Rhode Island

  • In 2022, 6.7% of adults in Rhode Island used e-cigarettes. Nationally, adult e-cigarette use prevalence was 7.7%.1
  • In 2022, 1.3% of adults in Rhode Island used smokeless tobacco every day or some days. Nationally, adult smokeless tobacco use prevalence was 3.4%.1
  • In 2021, 17.8% of high school students in Rhode Island used electronic vapor products on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the e-cigarette use prevalence among high school students was 18%.2
  • In 2021, 2.5% of high school students in Rhode Island used chewing tobacco, snuff or dip on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the smokeless tobacco use prevalence among high school students was 3.1%.2
  • In 2021, 2.7% of high school students in Rhode Island smoked cigars, cigarillos or little cigars on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the cigar use prevalence among high school students was 2.5%.2

Economics of tobacco use and tobacco control

Tobacco taxes in Rhode Island

  • Rhode Island received $200.3 million (estimated) in revenue from tobacco settlement payments and taxes in fiscal year 2023.4
  • Of this, the state allocated $415,452.00 in state funds to tobacco prevention in fiscal year 2023, 3.2% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual spending target.4
  • Smoking-caused health care costs: $744 million per year.4
  • Smoking-caused losses in productivity: $1.1 billion per year.5

Rhode Island tobacco laws

Rhode Island tobacco laws

Tobacco taxes

  • Rhode Island is ranked 4th in the U.S. for its cigarette tax of $4.25 per pack (enacted August 2017), compared to the national average of $1.93. (New York has the highest tax at $5.35 and Missouri has the lowest at 17 cents.)6-8
  • Cigars, pipe tobacco products and smokeless tobacco, other than snuff, are taxed at 80% of the wholesale coast. The tax on cigars cannot exceed 50 cents per cigar.
  • Snuff is taxed at $1 per ounce.6,7

Clean indoor air ordinances

  • Smoking is prohibited in government workplaces, private workplaces, schools, childcare facilities, restaurants, bars (allowed in smoking bars), retail stores and recreational/cultural facilities.6,7
  • Smoking restrictions are required in casinos/gaming establishments.6,7
  • E-cigarettes are included in the state’s definition of smoking.9

Flavor restrictions

  • The sale of all flavored e-cigarettes is prohibited.10

Licensing laws

  • 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

  • In December 2019, the United States adopted a law raising the federal minimum age of sale of all tobacco products to 21, effective immediately.
  • Establishments are required to post signs stating that the sale of tobacco products to minors is prohibited.6
  • Minors are prohibited from buying bidis and/or e-cigarettes.6
  • Vending machine sales of e-cigarettes are restricted to locked machines in locations continually supervised and in direct line of sight of an authorized person on business premises or in locations inaccessible to persons under 21.9
  • It is prohibited to distribute and redeem of free e-cigarettes or coupons for free or discounted products to any individual under 21 or to anyone within 500 feet of a school.9
  • Delivery sales of e-cigarettes requires a valid form of government identification and an attestation certifying it is correct, as well as delivery to the address on the identification and signature of someone over 21 at said address.9

Local tobacco laws

  • Central Falls, Johnston, and Providence have banned the sale of flavored tobacco products, except menthol, mint and wintergreen. Smoking and hookah bars are exempt.10
  • Barrington, Central Falls, Johnston, Middletown, Providence and West Warwick prohibit licensed tobacco vendors from selling discounted tobacco products through coupon redemption and multipack offers.11

Quitting statistics and benefits

Quitting smoking and vaping in Rhode Island

  • The CDC estimates 54.4% of daily adult smokers in Rhode Island 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**
  • Rhode Island’s state quit line invests $1.71 per smoker, compared to the national median of $2.37.7
  • Rhode Island has a private insurance mandate provision for cessation.7

Notes and references

Notes and references

Updated June 2023

*The datasets for both adults and youth prevalence were used to make direct comparisons at the state and national levels. National prevalence reported here may differ from what is reported in our national-level fact sheets. The numbers here also reflect the most recent data available. Dates of available data 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, 2023.

2.         CDC, Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System, 2021.

3.         CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System, 2023.

4.         Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Broken Promises to Our Children: a State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 24 Years Later FY2023, 2023.

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, 2023.

8.         Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. State Cigarette Excise Tax Rates & Rankings. Accessed October 4th, 2023.

9.         Public Health Law Center. U.S. E-Cigarette Regulation: 50-State Review. Accessed October 4th, 2023.

10.       Truth Initiative, Local restrictions on flavored tobacco and e-cigarette products. Accessed October 4th, 2023.

11.       Tobacco-Free Rhode Island. RI Local Tobacco Control Ordinances & Policies. Published 2018. Accessed October 4th, 2023