National RWJF SmokeLess States Program Helps Montana Increase Cigarette Excise Tax to One of Highest in Country and Implement Tobacco-Control Efforts

From mid-2001 to mid-2004, the Protect Montana Kids coalition, with the American Cancer Society as the lead organization, conducted statewide activities to reduce tobacco use, particularly among children and youth.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program SmokeLess States® National Tobacco Policy Initiative.

Key Results

Among the key results of the project are the following:

  • Montana increased its cigarette excise tax to $1.70 per pack—one of the highest tobacco taxes in the country—and increased taxes on spit tobacco and other tobacco products.
  • Montana made headway in establishing smoke-free communities, including passage of a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance in Helena, Montana's capitol, and a smoke-free ordinance in Bozeman, which covered all workplaces except for bars and casinos. In 2005, after RWJF's funding ended, the 59th Montana Legislature passed the Montana Tobacco-Free Schools and Clean Indoor Air Act.
  • Protect Montana Kids and other organizations successfully challenged the constitutionality of a limited preemption statute in the state Supreme Court.
  • Montana secured $3.2 million from its Master Settlement Agreement (32%) for tobacco prevention and control, up from the $400,000 previously set aside for this purpose.