The New York Association of Convenience Stores is pushing back against Governor Kathy Hochul’s plan to increase the per-pack tax on cigarettes and ban flavored tobacco products, launching a significant digital ad buy to halt the proposals. Hochul’s plan would see the per-pack tax on cigarettes increased by $1, bringing it from $4.35 to $5.35.
The ad campaign comes as Hochul and state lawmakers enter the final four weeks of budget negotiations, with the governor including the tobacco proposals in her $227 billion budget plan, which is expected to pass by April 1st.
New York Association of Convenience Stores President Kent Sopris said that the proposed tax increase and flavored tobacco ban would increase crime and bolster the illegal market, deprive state and local governments of tax revenue, and put legitimate retailers out of business. He added that prohibition does not work and that the more New Yorkers hear the facts, the more they realize that.
On the other hand, anti-tobacco organizations are urging lawmakers to approve the measures, arguing that they would significantly reduce smoking-linked illnesses like cancer in New York and fund anti-smoking initiatives in the state.
According to a Siena College poll released on Monday, a majority of voters support both proposals, with 62% in favor of the tax increase and 57% in support of the flavored tobacco ban.
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