In order to have a clear understanding of the importance of cigarette taxes, it is appropriate to give a historical background of the object- cigarettes. Historically, tobacco became popular in the United States in 17th century which was often associated with slavery since tobacco plantations required massive manpower. However, when America started trading with other colonies after the American Revolution, tobacco in the form of cigarettes became popular. The origin of cigarette smoking can be traced to Western Europe. The cigarette was actually smoked by members of the lower class population in Andalusia which was adapted by the French during their conquests there. Later during the Victorian period, the British adopted
tobacco to suit their taste and style but in the form of “dainty looking cigarette” which can used by the ladies (Burns 132 ). In the United States, Maryland and Virginia competed heavily in tobacco farming resulting to the establishment of two different types of auction system for loose-leaf. This caused tremendous pressure to the government leading to the enactment of the Tobacco Inspection Act that directs the Secretary of Agriculture to impose controls on the tobacco Industry ( McGrew ). In addition to this, McGrew asserts that the government imposed regulation since “the tobacco industry provided more than $4.8 billion in taxes in 1971” (USDA, Tobacco Situation, 1971b: 44).
Strictly speaking, the first federal excise tax on tobacco was included in the Alexander Hamilton’s tax.