NYC Plans To Raise Cigarette Prices To Highest In Nation
De Blasio made the announcement during anti-smoking event in the city.
De Blasio's new package of five anti-smoking bills, if approved by the City Council, would also make it harder to sell e-cigarettes in the city by imposing the same licensing restrictions on e-cig sellers as are now imposed on cigarette sellers. Another piece of legislation bans pharmacies-or retail stores that have pharmacies-from selling tobacco products, including cigarettes, a longtime goal of anti-smoking activists.
"It will bring us down to the lowest rate of smoking we would have ever had in our history, 12 percent of our population", de Blasio said today at the American Heart Association office.
The mayor also indicated he would seek to cap and license the number of cigarette sellers, who far outnumber other types of retailers in the city.
Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said that tobacco companies particularly target youth with their marketing, calling the legislation a new way forward.
Currently, there are 8,200 licensed cigarette retailers citywide, which could be reduced by 40 percent in 10 years through not granting new licenses once a bodega closes. 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. That's more than the 14.2 percent spent annually by households in the same income bracket nationally. According to the press release, there are also 174,000 adults and 42,000 adolescents using e-cigarettes in New York City.
The package of bills introduced by Johnson and Councilmen Brad Lander, Fernando Cabrera and Ritchie Torres will go before the City Council's Health Committee on April 27.
The nation's priciest cigarettes are about to get even more expensive. There is no evidence to suggest that any deaths can be attributed to e-cigarette use.
Our government should adopt the United Kingdom's Royal College of Physicians position that "the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5 percent of the harm from smoking tobacco".