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20 April 2017, 06:40 | Melissa Porter
Mayor of New York City wants to raise the base price of cigarettes to $13 a pack
De Blasio, flanked by members of his administration and anti-smoking advocates, announced Wednesday a package of bills that aim to reduce the number of smokers in the city by 160,000 over the next three years.
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.
The mayor said a series of five legislative proposals will be introduced to raise the price to $13 per pack. Currently, the minimum is $10.50.
Bootlegging of cigarettes (and alcohol, also highly taxed in New York) costs the state almost $2 billion in tax revenue each year.
According to de Blasio, he city still has more than 900,000 smokers-including 15,000 youth-even though smoking rates have dropped from 21.5 percent in 2002 to 14.3 percent in 2015. The city expects the tax will generate at least $1 million annually that would be funneled to the New York City Housing Authority.
Lander also sponsored a bill that would eventually cut the number of retailers allowed to sell tobacco by half in each community district. He also asserted that 174,000 adults and 42,000 adolescents use e-cigarettes. And he admitted that it's going to be a tough fight against the tobacco industry.
The mayor says he also wants to license and cap tobacco sellers and e-cigarette retailers.
Other bills connected to this proposal include residential buildings creating smoking polices and tobacco sales would be banned at pharmacies.
"Easy access to tobacco retailers makes it hard for smokers to quit and has contributed to the recent rise of NYC youth using cigars and smokeless tobacco", Salas said.
The health committee is to hear the bills on April 27. He said he's not anxious about new tobacco regulations.
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