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

"The biggest challenge facing New York City is a pervasive black market cigarette epidemic".

Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said that tobacco companies particularly target youth with their marketing, calling the legislation a new way forward. Chicago has the highest taxes for cigarettes at $6.16 per pack, followed by New York City at $5.85 per pack. The price increase would increase the minimum cost of cigarettes and little cigars from $10.50 to $13.

De Blasio on Wednesday announced a package of proposed bills that would, among other things, raise the base price of a pack of cigarettes from $10.50 to $13, making NY home to the costliest cigarettes in the country.

Casting tobacco companies as "public enemy #1", Mayor de Blasio announced a series of measures to limit the sale of tobacco around the city at a press conference yesterday. 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.

Another bill from Lander will cap the number of tobacco retailer licenses in each community district to 50 percent of the number of licenses already there.

The package of legislation was previously introduced in the Council and a hearing will be held on April 27. Another measure from Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) would require building owners to create a policy on smoking and disclose it to current and potential residents, or risk a $100 civil fine.

Leaders framed the initiative as one of the biggest drives to reduce smoking in the city since Mayor Michael Bloomberg worked to ban cigarettes in bars and restaurants.

The city also recently introduced a ban on smoking in public housing, which anxious some tenants about being kicked out of their homes.

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

"There will be a fight over this in the coming months", the mayor said. We were balancing a lot of factors. It would create a retail license for e-cigarettes.

  • Wendy Palmer