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Ongoing budget talks reignite debate over $1 cigarette tax hike in NY

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

As state budget negotiations in New York continue this month, both supporters and opponents of Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed $1 tax increase on cigarettes are renewing their efforts to sway opinions. The proposed tax hike would raise the per-pack tax from $4.35 to $5.35.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

Proponents of the tax increase argue that it would deter people from starting to smoke, while opponents claim it would only boost the sale of illegal cigarettes in the state. The Tobacco Kills group has recently launched full-page ads in various newspapers across New York to emphasize their position.

On the other hand, the New York Association of Convenience Stores released an analysis stating that the tax proposal would disproportionately affect working-class and lower-income New Yorkers. The group questioned the effectiveness of the tax increase in discouraging smoking, considering smokers could still access cigarettes through illicit markets, bordering states, and native reservations.

Governor Hochul’s tax hike proposal was initially accompanied by a plan to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol. However, both the state Senate and Assembly rejected the measure in their budget proposals.