NYC is now the most expensive place in the United States to buy a pack of cigarettes—and Mayor Bill de Blasio is very happy about that. The mayor signed seven bills aimed at reducing the number of smokers by 160,000 people in 2020. "Even though tobacco is a leading cause of premature death across the country, Big Tobacco will stop at nothing to hook people on these deadly products," he said in a statement.
"We are sending a loud and clear message that we will not let their greed kill any more New Yorkers without a fight. These new laws will not only help reduce the number of smokers in our city, but also save lives," he added.
It's believed that raising the price of cigarettes from $10.50 to $13 will lead to a 6.4% drop in adult cigarette smoking, plus raise $1 million annually for for public housing.
The smoking rate in NYC has declined from 21.5% in 2002 to 14.3% in 2015, but that still means there are 900,000 smokers. City officials are hoping to get the smoking rate to 12% by 2020. Here are the details, from a press release:
These seven bills will put New York City at the forefront of smoking and tobacco control by: (1) raising the minimum prices for all tobacco products, including cigarettes, and imposing a new 10 percent local tax on tobacco products other than cigarettes; (2) capping and reducing through attrition the number of tobacco retailers citywide; (3) creating a retail license for e-cigarettes and capping the number of e-cigarette retailers; (4) increasing the fee for a cigarette retail dealer license; (5) requiring all residential buildings to create a smoking policy and disclosing it to both current and prospective tenants; (6) prohibiting smoking and the use of e-cigarettes in common areas in multiple dwellings with fewer than ten units; and (7) banning the sale of tobacco products at pharmacies.