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To help close a $3 billion budget gap, Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist supported increasing the price of cigarettes. At first, however, he refused to acknowledge that a mandated price increase should be considered a tax.

“I’m not particularly fond of any taxes,” Mr. Crist told reporters in March. “User fees may be a different item,” he said, presumably with a straight face. In the end, Florida tripled its cigarette tax, raising it by $1 per pack.

Even North Carolina, home of Tobacco Road, increased its cigarette tax by 10 cents to a relatively minuscule 45 cents per pack.

If tobacco could not escape being targeted by North Carolina revenue raisers, it shouldn’t be surprising that Kentucky bourbon suffered the same fate. Kentucky was one of eight states to raise alcohol taxes this year, according to ATR’s tally. Kentucky applied the state’s 6 percent sales tax to alcohol, including bourbon. (Kentucky also joined North Carolina, New Jersey and Vermont in raising both tobacco and alcohol taxes.)

Alcohol taxes have excited American passions literally for centuries. Fifteen years after Smith’s classic was published, the young American government followed his advice and imposed a tax on liquor in 1791 to pay off debt from the Revolutionary War. Those taxes caused enough discontent to trigger the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania. President George Washington responded by invoking martial law, summoning the militias of several states, including Pennsylvania and Virginia, and personally leading troops into western Pennsylvania to suppress the rebellion.

Recent alcohol tax increases have unleashed their own cross-border activity. This year, Massachusetts revoked alcohol’s exemption from the state sales tax, which it also raised from 5 percent to 6.25 percent. Alcohol taxes were projected to generate $79 million in revenue for Massachusetts this year.

Bay State alcohol consumers immediately discovered that the longtime price advantage enjoyed by New Hampshire liquor stores suddenly got bigger. The bulging price difference encouraged countless trips to New Hampshire, which, thanks to out-of-state customers, traditionally leads the nation in per capita hard-liquor sales. Even Massachusetts Democratic state Rep. Michael J. Rodrigues, who voted for the alcohol tax, was photographed recently loading New Hampshire liquor into his car, which is illegal.

“With so many states rushing to raise taxes on tobacco and booze, the levies frequently don’t bring in the anticipated revenues because they drive black-market sales or because people cross state borders to buy their cigarettes and booze,” said Mr. DeHaven of Cato.

Although cigarette taxes were raised 57 times between 2003 and 2007, the tax increases met revenue projections only 16 times, according to Mr. Culling, the state government affairs analyst at the National Taxpayers Union.

“Excise tax hikes frequently do not bring in the revenue, which is often tied to specific programs,” Mr. Culling said. When the revenue doesn’t materialize, other more general tax increases are imposed. That’s one reason why nonsmokers should oppose cigarette taxes.”

Even if sin taxes do not meet revenue projections, they still haul in lot of money. So much, in fact, that legislators are increasingly listening to health care advocates who have intensified their calls for soft-drink taxes and fat taxes.

“The science base linking the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to the risk of chronic diseases is clear,” according to a paper published recently by the New England Journal of Medicine. “Escalating health care costs, and the rising burden of diseases related to poor diet, create an urgent need for solutions, thus justifying government’s right to recoup costs.”

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine raised the soda-tax stakes by demanding a tax on high-fat, high-cholesterol foods. “Taxing sodas and cheeseburgers would raise prices at the drive-through window, but Americans would get that cash back in the form of lower medical bills,” said Susan Levin, the committee’s nutrition director.

The chief of Coca-Cola Co. disagrees. “I have never seen it work where a government tells people what to eat and what to drink,” said Coca-Cola Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent. “If it worked, the Soviet Union would still be around.”

The legislators of several states and the city of San Francisco are actively pursuing the idea of imposing soda taxes in the future. Even President Obama said a soda tax is “an idea that we should be exploring,” although it is not part of any of the health care bills on Capitol Hill.