N.Y. Cigarette Tax to Become Highest in Nation

The $1 increase pushes the state's excise tax higher than that of Washington, D.C.

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York State smokers will soon have to pay an extra dollar for a pack of cigarettes. The state's cigarette tax will increase to $5.35 per pack on Sept. 1, up from $4.35, making it the highest state tax in the nation.

Washington, D.C., will fall to No. 2 with its current excise tax of $4.50 per pack.

[Read more: Judge Tosses FDA's Rule Over Premium Cigars]

New York's excise tax on little cigars will also increase by $1 per pack of 20, reported the Post-Standard.

This marks the first time New York has raised its cigarette tax in more than a decade.

The increase will hurt tax-paying retailers and push customers to get cheaper tobacco products elsewhere, according to a representative for the New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS).

NYACS previously wrote a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul pointing to more than $1 billion in lost revenue from illegally smuggled tobacco products in the state. This is the equivalent of approximately 250 million smuggled cigarette packs.

"This is funding that could be used for cessation programs or enforcement efforts but instead supports an economy where there are no rules and certainly no age requirements," wrote NYACS President Kent Sopris. "Not a week goes by where my taxpaying, law-abiding members do not report illegal retail activity in their towns and cities."

NYACS encouraged Hochul to ramp up enforcement of existing anti-smuggling laws in New York instead of focusing on tax increases and bans on flavored tobacco products.

"If the state is serious about lowering smoking rates and ensuring consumer products on the market are legal and taxed appropriately, instead of advocating for failed policies like flavor bans and tax increases, it should prioritize and fund enforcement programs statewide," Sopris wrote. "Any other policy will merely hurt New Yorkers."