According to the Mercatus’ Freedom in 50 States study, North Carolina ranks 7th most free in tobacco.  This is a surprising rating since North Carolina has a history built around the tobacco industry, such as when James B. Duke formed the American Tobacco Company in Durham.  On more analysis, the variables in evaluating this measure used the following: taxes on tobacco, smoking bans, Internet bans, and vending machine regulations.  Where North Carolina has the 6th lowest cigarette tax in the country, and was one of the last states in the country to institute such tax, it has had some legislation in recent years that have removed its once friendly tobacco laws.

The smoking ban does play a large part in North Carolina not making it to the top five list on tobacco freedom.  Beginning in January 2010, the smoke-free restaurants and bars law took effect, making it illegal at a state level to smoke in restaurants, bars and many lodging facilities.  This session has given some hope to North Carolina’s tobacco freedom, as a bill introduced in the NC Senate would remove outdoor smoking bans imposed by local ordinances.  The removal of smoking or other tobacco usage bans or regulations all help to increase North Carolina’s tobacco freedom.

The index also included North Carolina’s tobacco law that makes it illegal to sell tobacco products (usually cigarettes) in vending machines.  The only loop hole to the law is if the vending machine is in a facility that is only accessible to people over the age of 18 or in a facility under continuous control of someone (owner, employee, etc.) who activates the machine during each purchase.  So essentially, the state does not allow the sale of tobacco through a vending machine – again hurting the tobacco freedom ranking.

Best 5 States in Tobacco Freedom

  1. Missouri
  2. Kentucky
  3. Georgia
  4. South Carolina
  5. Wyoming
Worst 5 States in Tobacco Freedom

  1. New York
  2. Hawaii
  3. Vermont
  4. Washington
  5. Wisconsin