Mayor Wants to Raise Floor on Cost of Cigarette Packs to $13

The proposed tax hike is meant to reduce the number of smokers in New York City by 160,000 over the next three years.

Mayor de Blasio's announcement comes just two days after the American Cancer Society released a report, showing NY was "oversaturated with tobacco merchants", some 9,000 sellers across the five boroughs.

According to the mayor's office, smoking rates in NY have dipped from 21.5 percent in 2002 to 14.3 percent in 2015, but there are still 900,000 smokers in the city.

Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said that tobacco companies particularly target youth with their marketing, calling the legislation a new way forward.

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. A widely cited study which surveyed smokers both in New York State and nationally said that between 2010 and 2011, those making less than $30,000 per year in New York State spent 23.6 percent of annual household income on cigarettes. About 14 percent of New Yorkers smoke citywide.

Today de Blasio announced that he wants to make smuggling an even more financially lucrative option by jacking up the taxes on packs of cigarettes. According to the press release, there are also 174,000 adults and 42,000 adolescents using e-cigarettes in New York City.

Pharmacies will no longer be able to sell tobacco products and the cost of a pack of cigarettes will be at least $13 if a series of bills passes in the City Council, officials announced Wednesday. "This is an important first step in protecting the health and safety of New Yorkers".

E-cigarettes were far more popular single quit aids for partial or complete substitution (2.2 percent), compared with nicotine patches/gum (0.8 percent) or other prescription medicines (0.4 percent).

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