$13 a pack? NYC mayor wants highest cigarette prices in US

Posted April 22, 2017

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a proposal Wednesday to raise the base price form $10.50 to $13 a pack.

According to USA Today, the hike in the price of cigarettes is one of the five proposals in a package of bills aimed at trying to reduce the number of smokers in the city. New York City would have the highest priced cigarettes in the country.

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"We are here today talking about advancing the health and well-being of all New Yorkers, saving lives, preventing tobacco-related illnesses, saving money because these preventable illnesses are costly to care for", Bassett said.

"These companies have used the same playbook for decades, and we can no longer sit by while the next generation becomes addicted", de Blasio said. "The biggest challenge facing New York City is a pervasive black market cigarette epidemic". He said that he has quit and gotten back into it multiple times-calling his experience "hard"-and noted the physical effects of nicotine as well as the "mental vice that it grips you in". The bill caps the amount of licenses to sell tobacco products in every community district at 50 percent of the current number of licensed dealers, with no new licenses given out in a district until the number drops below the target number.

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Many argue that increases on cigarette prices are regressive, meaning they disproportionately weigh on the poor and underprivileged.

Cabrera even drew an implicit connection between the use of e-cigarettes and the opioid crisis currently ravaging New York State, saying, "in the midst of an opioid addiction crisis, we must take leadership now to prevent more addiction". New York State leads the nation when it comes to cigarette smuggling and 55.5% of cigarettes smoked in the state in 2014 came from smuggled sources, according to a study published in January by the non-profit Tax Foundation. The bills will be reviewed by the City Council's Health Committee on April 27. Now those were the good ol' days of NY. Treating e-cigarettes the same as regular tobacco cigarettes doesn't make sense from a public health standpoint.

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