How effective are sin taxes?

This is from a paper by Callison and Kaestner in the journal Economic Inquiry

There is a general consensus among policymakers that raising tobacco taxes reduces cigarette consumption. However, evidence that tobacco taxes reduce adult smoking is relatively sparse. In this paper, we extend the literature in two ways: using data from the Current Population Survey Tobacco Use Supplements we focus on recent, large tax changes, which provide the best opportunity to empirically observe a response in cigarette consumption, and employ a novel paired difference-in-differences technique to estimate the association between tax increases and cigarette consumption. Estimates indicate that, for adults, the association between cigarette taxes and either smoking participation or smoking intensity is negative, small, and not usually statistically significant. Our evidence suggests that increases in cigarette taxes are associated with small decreases in cigarette consumption and that it will take sizable tax increases, on the order of 100%, to decrease smoking by as much as 5%.

I'm no fan of smoking, but this evidence seems quite clear that the spike in cigarette taxes have not had the intended effect.  Rather, they seem to have been primarily effective at extracting money from smokers.  What these results imply is that the  reduction in smoking that has occurred over the past 20-30 years is better and more confident information that smoking is unhealthy.