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

People who want to obtain cigarettes will simply buy them on the street or they will buy them elsewhere and bring them into New York City.

The City Council is slated to hold a hearing on the proposed legislation next week. The Tax Foundation reportedly found that 55.5 percent of cigarettes smoked in NY in 2014 were purchased from people selling loose cigarettes (loosies). Raising the minimum prices for all tobacco products, including cigarettes, and imposing a new 10-percent local tax on other tobacco products 2.

Under the package of bills, the city's cigarettes would rise to $13 per pack from $10.50.

The Mayor made the announcement at an anti-smoking event and remarked that tobacco was the top "public enemy" in the context of New Yorkers' health.

Councilmen Corey Johnson, Brad Lander, Fernando Cabrera and Ritchie Torres introduced the bills, which will first be heard by the health committee on April 19 and could all pass by the summer, officials said.

Roughly 12,000 people in NY die each year due to smoking-related illnesses. Though figures are hard to nail down-black markets, being what they are-stats suggest that more than half of all cigarettes are being sold illegally and untaxed in NY.

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One of the bills would also make it illegal for 550 pharmacies and stores that contain retail pharmacies to sell tobacco products. The proposal recommends that all residential building in NY develop a smoking policy.

The city council also will consider legislation to gradually reduce by half the number of licenses issued to retailers to sell tobacco products.

De Blasios' predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, began the charge to stub out smoking in the city in 2002, when the smoking rate was 22 percent.

De Blasio's proposal doesn't take into account the fact that e-cigarettes have been shown to help people quit smoking.

Cheyenne Alexander of the Bronx said she wasn't concerned about the mayor's initiative because she is going to quit smoking, but added that she pays $8 a pack for cigarettes. We were balancing a lot of factors.


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