Taxing Tobacco by Risk
Excise taxes are fees levied on specific products like cigarettes, beer and gasoline. Unlike broad-based taxes, such as general sales or income taxes, excises are often paid by a narrow subset of the population, such as smokers, consumers of alcohol and so forth. These taxes are often hidden from consumers because they are embedded in a product's retail price. Some excise taxes are called "sin" taxes because they are levied on undesirable behaviors such as smoking and drinking.