NYC mayor looks to raise cigarette prices to $13 per pack

The bills, which would have to be passed by the City Council, would also raise the minimum price of a pack of cigarettes in the city to $13 from $10.50 and cap the number of retailers at 50% of the current number of licensees.

The nation's priciest cigarettes are about to get even more expensive.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing legislation to hike New York City's minimum cigarette-pack price to $13, halve the number of stores allowed to sell tobacco products and put pharmacies out of the tobacco business altogether.

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. De Blasio's initiative hopes to reduce the smoking rate from 14.3 percent in 2015 to a historic low of 12 percent by 2020. The legislation establishes the first price floor and tax for other tobacco products such as cigars, smokeless tobacco, loose tobacco and tobacco-containing shisha-and enforces a 10 percent tax on other tobacco products for the first time, with the resulting revenues going toward the beleaguered New York City Housing Authority, which faces federal funding cuts under President Donald Trump.

At $13, a pack in NY would cost triple one in North Dakota and be more expensive than a city sandwich or a typical cocktail.

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"This whole package of bills is misdirected at licensed, responsible retailers of tobacco products", said Calvin, whose group headquartered in the state capital of Albany has 1,600 members.

Many argue that increases on cigarette prices are regressive, meaning they disproportionately weigh on the poor and underprivileged.

Smokers stopped on the street Wednesday bore that out. "So they are going to buy it", she said.

Syed Alamgir Hashan, who works at the BJ Newspapers store, agreed.

A spokesman at Altria Group, the Richmond, Va. -based parent company to cigarette maker Philip Morris, said it is reviewing the proposal.

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