Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Health Care | By Jeffery Armstrong

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

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

De Blasio framed his new proposal as being an attack on "Big Tobacco", calling them "public enemy #1".

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is cracking down on cigarette smokers in New York City.

The immediate impact of de Blasio's announcement on tobacco bonds issued by the New York City couldn't be determined.

The goal of the program would be to reduce the city's more than 900,000 smokers by 160,000 over the next three years.

The City Council Health Committee is expected to have a hearing on the legislation on April 27. He wants to hike the minimum price of a pack of cigarettes from $10.50 to $13, create new regulations on e-cigarettes and restrict where tobacco can be sold.

City and state taxes on a pack of cigarettes already total $5.85, making it the highest in the country. About 12,000 people in NY die each year from smoking-related illnesses, according to the Times.

Contrary to the public health concerns that Cabrera raised, the same report said that the interest of public health is served by working to "promote the use of e-cigarettes, NRT and other non-tobacco nicotine products as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking in the United Kingdom". 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.

The Times story does not indicate that the price increase will come in the form of a tax, which means retailers would actually get to keep the extra cigarette money once the price goes up. However, he also said that the price increase tamps down demand for cigarettes, so he was "at peace" with the money going to retailers.

Jacob Jacobson, who was smoking a cigarette on Lexington Avenue, said he commutes from the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania and buys his cigarettes there for about $8 a pack.

A spokesman at Altria Group, the Richmond, Va. -based parent company to cigarette maker Philip Morris, said it is reviewing the proposal.

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