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Will Cigarettes in New York Soon Be the Most Expensive in the U.S.?

Picture of Nadia Elysse
US Editorial Team Lead
Updated: 30 August 2017
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation this week that will raise the minimum price of cigarettes in the city and also make them a little bit harder to find.

“It’s very cynical. It’s all about greed,” de Blasio said of the tobacco industry, according to the NY Daily News. “We have these major international corporations that clearly know better, but to make a buck they’re looking to hook a whole new generation of young people on tobacco products and we have to stop them.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking causes more deaths each year than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol abuse, car accidents, and shootings combined. Despite its links to numerous cancers, heart disease, and infertility, cigarette smoking is still legal in the United States—and many believe that’s due to the money and influence of those in the tobacco industry.

New York’s new legislation will raise the minimum price of cigarettes from $10.50 to $13, starting in June 2018. That means premium brands that are currently charging close to $12 may up their prices even more. In addition to the price hike, pharmacies in the city will no longer be permitted to sell cigarettes. They’ll have to pull cigs from their shelves by January 2019.

Mayor de Blasio hopes that making New York City the most expensive place to buy cigarettes will help people trade in their smoking habits for healthier, longer lives.

“We are sending a loud and clear message that we will not let their greed kill any more New Yorkers without a fight,” de Blasio said. “These new laws will not only help reduce the number of smokers in our city, but also save lives.”