NYC moves to raise cigarette costs to nation's highest

Apr 22, 2017, 01:37

"By giving DCA the ability to license e-cigarettes and limit the number of retailers selling tobacco products, we can better enforce existing laws that help keep tobacco products out of the hands of minors and improve the health of all New Yorkers".

If adopted, the legislative package, which also caps the number of e-cigarette retailers and requires apartment buildings to adopt and disclose smoking policies, may curb returns on about $1.5 billion of bonds issued by New York City repaid with payments from tobacco companies under a 1998 settlement.

Opponents of the city's high cigarette prices have argued that it has pushed many smokers into buying untaxed, unregulated cigarettes on the black market.

"We are here today talking about advancing the health and well-being of all New Yorkers, saving lives, preventing tobacco-related illnesses, saving money because these preventable illnesses are costly to care for", Bassett said. An estimated 900,000 New York City residents now smoke. Currently, the minimum is $10.50. The proposal recommends that all residential building in NY develop a smoking policy. About 12,000 people in NY die each year from smoking-related illnesses, according to the Times.

Increasing the minimum price of cigarette packs to $13. Twenty-two percent of adults there smoked.

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Another bill, by Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), would prohibit pharmacies, or stores that contain pharmacies, from selling tobacco products.

Mayor de Blasio announced the next installment of his "City Hall in Your Borough" tour on Twitter Thursday, with a short video saying he planned to head to Bronx Borough Hall in late May.

One of the bills that will be introduced to the City Council next week will raise the price floor on cigarette and small cigar packs, and introduce one for other tobacco products sold in the city. However, it took him over a year to draft the proposed changes.

Staten Island has 402 cigarette retailers with licenses, according to the mayor's office. "We have a lot more we have to do".

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