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

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a package of bills Wednesday aimed at drastically reducing the city's smoking population over the next four years.

Five different anti-tobacco bills will be introduced by City Council Members Corey Johnson, Brad Lander, Fernando Cabrera and Ritchie Torres.

By sheer coincidence (if you are completely ignorant to even the most basic concepts of economics), NY has the highest rate of cigarette smuggling in the country.

The minimum price for a pack of cigarettes would rise to $13 in New York City under a proposal backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Currently, the base price of a pack of cigarettes is $10.50 in New York City. The city expects the tax will generate at least $1 million annually that would be funneled to the New York City Housing Authority.

David Sutton, an Altria spokesman, said the company is still reviewing the city's proposed legislation.

The other bills will slash the tobacco retail dealer licenses in each community district to half their current number, and create a separate license for the retail sale of e-cigarettes.

Bootlegging of cigarettes (and alcohol, also highly taxed in New York) costs the state almost $2 billion in tax revenue each year.

The goal, according to the Mayor, is to reduce the number of smokers by 160,000 people by 2020.

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.

Many argue that increases on cigarette prices are regressive, meaning they disproportionately weigh on the poor and underprivileged. He said he's not anxious about new tobacco regulations.

"The thing is, when people are addicted, they're addicted".

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.

De Blasio says the city already has a record-low percentage of smokers, 14 percent.

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