Sure, lung cancer is hellish, but nothing motivates smokers to quit like a cigarette price increase. The city’s health department says the calls to 311 from smokers seeking help tripled during the week the state implemented a cigarette tax hike of $1.25. At over $8 a pack, smoking in New York City costs more than anywhere else in America, setting the pack-a-day smoker back $3,000 a year. The city contends tax increases in 2002 contributed to a five year, 21% drop in adult smoking and a 52% drop in smoking among New York City public high school students.