Health

$13 A Pack? NYC Mayor Wants To Raise Cigarette Cost

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday announced a series of proposed bills affecting the city's cigarette prices.

Mayor Bill de Blasio will be coming to Long Island City next week for a town hall meeting to address community concerns.

A pack of cigarettes in New York City is going to get more expensive - $13 at a minimum - and harder to find, if Mayor de Blasio has his way.

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.

He added that "there are 29 more times more tobacco sellers than Starbucks in New York City".

All of the bills in question will be heard in committee on April 27, and have enough backing to make their passage all but certain.

Among the five bills slated to be introduced to the City Council is legislation to raise the minimum price for cigarettes and other tobacco products to $13 a pack - up from the current $10.50.

David Sutton, an Altria spokesman, said the company is still reviewing the city's proposed legislation. No current tobacco retailer would lose its license under the bill, but no new ones would be issued until the district's number is below the cap.

De Blasio, a Democrat running for re-election in November, is picking up the mantle of his predecessor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who raised tobacco taxes and banned smoking in public places, an effort to improve public health that was adopted by municipalities across the U.S. Bloomberg, an independent, is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP. 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 measure would also update the cigarette retailer license to include all tobacco products, so they would be included in the ban on selling in pharmacies. According to the press release, there are also 174,000 adults and 42,000 adolescents using e-cigarettes in New York City.

"I am trying to quit, so increasing the price would help", smoker Nichole Munisami said.

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