New York City Raises Base Price for Cigarettes to $13 a Pack
NEW YORK — The cost of buying cigarettes in New York's five boroughs just got a little more expensive.
According to the New York City Health Department, the base price for a pack of cigarettes ticked up to $13 on June 1. The price tag makes it the highest pack price in the United States.
The increase was set in motion this past August when city officials passed Local Law 145, which requires retailers to sell cigarettes for a minimum retail price of $13 per pack. The implementation date was set at June 1.
Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the increase into law as part of a seven-bill package aimed at tobacco regulation, as CSNews Online previously reported. The end goal is to reduce the number of smokers in the city by 160,000 by 2020.
"The cost of cigarettes is rising in New York City, and history shows that higher prices means fewer smokers," said Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett. "I'm thrilled we're back on top with the highest pack price in the United States. Now is a great time to try to quit smoking, and our NYC Quits program can help. Even if you only smoke a few a day, or if you don't smoke every day, the money adds up, and so does the risk to your health."
The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs will enforce the minimum prices for cigarettes as a part of its regular inspections of licensed tobacco retailers.
If a business sells or offers to sell packages of cigarettes for less than the minimum price of $13, it will be subject to a $1,000 civil penalty for the first violation on the day of inspection, $2,000 for a second violation, and $5,000 for a third within five years.
"I've been open about my struggles with nicotine addiction, so I know how important it is to do everything in our power to discourage people from smoking. Making cigarettes more expensive will make people think twice about their habit, which could save lives. I am proud to have sponsored this bill to raise the price on cigarettes, and I thank my council colleagues for their support and the administration for signing it into law," said New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
Johnson introduced the series of tobacco measures along with council members Brad Lander, Fernando Cabrera, Ritchie Torres and James Vacca.