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

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Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council announced new initiatives today aimed at cutting the number of smokers in the five boroughs by 160,000 over the next three years-mainly by raising the price floor for cigarettes and cigarillos from $10.50 a pack to $13, among other measures directed at the tobacco industry. "These bills will make it less likely that New Yorkers will start smoking and easier for New Yorkers who smoke to quit, helping thousands of people lead longer, healthier lives".

"Big tobacco is public enemy No. 1 when it comes to public health", Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The liberal democrat is pushing to raise the minimum price for a pack of cigarettes to a record setting $13, which he says would be the nation's highest.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking aim at New York City's smokers.

De Blasio noted that the top five causes of death for city residents-heart disease, cancer, pneumonia, respiratory disease and stroke-are all linked to smoking.

NY is the only state with a double-digit price, averaging $10.44 statewide.

The legislative package may reduce the number of smokers in the most populous US city by 160,000 over the next three years.

"We resent the fact that the administration and the City Council are trying to attack law-abiding retailers when the real problem is on the streets", said James Calvin, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores. But cigarettes are a whole other story, and New York's smokers should start preparing for their habit to become more expensive. None of four people interviewed said they purchase full-price legal cigarettes as it is.

The single mother who works part-time and attends college says education is important for her and her son. Roughly 900,000 city adults smoke along with 15,000 high school students, according to the Department of Health. However, he also said that the price increase tamps down demand for cigarettes, so he was "at peace" with the money going to retailers.

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