Minimum Price of Cigarette Pack in NYC Rising to $13

NEW YORK -
New York cigarettes
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

The minimum legal price of a pack of cigarettes in New York City is rising by a whopping $2.50 under legislation approved by the city council last week.

The bill, which is certain to be signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, will increase the price of a pack to $13 and end its sale in many stores. It also established minimum prices and minimum pack sizes for other tobacco products and establish a 10 percent tax on tobacco products other than cigarettes. Proceeds of the tax will be directed to help with public housing.

The bill, which was approved in an unusually divisive vote, would prohibit the sale of all tobacco products in pharmacies and cut the number of accredited tobacco retailers by half, to about 4,500. The fee to get a tobacco retail license will also rise.

The legislation also requires all residential buildings to establish smoking policies and disclose them to both current and prospective residents.

De Blasio, a Democrat up for reelection who rolled out the plan in April, said the law would help cut the number of smokers by 160,000 by 2020.

Nine lawmakers voted against the hike, including Councilman Steve Levin, a former smoker.

“I know how difficult it can be to quit and there are a lot of people who would love to quit and are unable to do so,” he told Newsday.