What to Know
- Smokers will have to pay at least $13 per pack — the highest price in the nation — after a law passed last year went into effect Friday
- The new minimum cigarette price was a central component of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tobacco legislation package, signed in August 2017
- The legislation package aims to reduce the number of smokers in New York City by 160,000 by 2020
Cigarettes have just gotten pricier in New York City.
Smokers will have to shell out at least $13 per pack — the highest price in the nation — after a law passed last year has gone into effect this Friday.
The new minimum cigarette price was a central component of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tobacco legislation package, signed in August 2017, which aims to reduce the number of smokers in New York City by 160,000 by 2020.
De Blasio’s tobacco legislation package aims to reduce tobacco use by: raising the minimum prices for all tobacco products; capping and reducing through attrition the number of tobacco retailers across the city; creating a retail license for e-cigarettes and capping the number of e-cigarette retailers; and banning the sale of tobacco products at pharmacies.
The city also has a program known as NYC Quits to assist New Yorkers in their efforts to quit smoking.
“The cost of cigarettes is rising in New York City, and history shows that higher prices means fewer smokers,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a statement. “I’m thrilled we’re back on top with the highest pack price in the United States. Now is a great time to try to quit smoking, and our NYC Quits program can help. Even if you only smoke a few a day, or if you don’t smoke every day, the money adds up, and so does the risk to your health.”
Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, said in a statement that the measure was a “reasonable” step in discouraging New Yorkers from smoking.
According to the city’s Health Department, Tobacco is a leading contributor to preventable, premature death in New York City, killing an estimated 12,000 people annually. While smoking rates in New York City declined from 21.5 percent in 2002 to 13.1 percent in 2016, there are currently more than 850,000 New Yorker adults who smoke and about 15,000 youth who smoke.
Increasing the price of cigarettes has been shown to prevent youth and adults from starting to smoke and encourages those who do smoke to quit or cut back, the Health Department says.