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

FILE  Getty Images

FILE Getty Images

De Blasio is backing an effort to force people to quit smoking by raising the city's current legal minimum price of a pack from $10.50, further cementing New York City's claim on having among the most expensive cigarettes in the country.

The minimum price for a pack of cigarettes would rise to $13 in New York City under a proposal backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. And the number of permits available for retailers who want to sell tobacco would be reduced from around 9,000 to around 6,000 over 10 years, Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said.

De Blasio announced his support Wednesday for a series of legislative proposals created to drastically cut tobacco use in the city by the year 2020.

The immediate impact of de Blasio's announcement on tobacco bonds issued by the New York City couldn't be determined.

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

April 20, is "All Acceptance Day" in New York City - a day when parents find out which Pre-K their child has been accepted to. A separate license will also be created for e-cigarette retailers under a bill introduced by Council Member Cabrera.

De Blasio did say at the press conference that since the city can't levy its own taxes, the money from the increased prices on tobacco products would go to the people selling them.

No one will say that smoking tobacco is healthy. According to the press release, there are also 174,000 adults and 42,000 adolescents using e-cigarettes in New York City.

A federal excise tax increase, which would have a greater impact on consumption, isn't imminent given the Trump administration's push to reduce taxes and cut regulation, Jeffrey Burger, who co-manages the Dreyfus High Yield Municipal Bond fund, has said.

Council Member Fernando Cabrera, who introduced the bill to create the licensing requirement for e-cigarette retailers, described the proposal as "a major step to limit the use of e-cigarettes, which are risky nicotine delivery systems that can lead to nicotine and potentially drug addiction".

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