New York is set to increase cigarette taxes by $1 per pack, prompting mixed reactions from anti-tobacco advocates and convenience store associations. The hike is included in the state’s $229 billion budget plan and will push the cigarette tax to $5.35 per pack, making New York one of the most expensive places in the US to purchase cigarettes. State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said that the aim is to further reduce smoking rates.
While anti-tobacco advocates, such as Michael Davoli of the American Cancer Society, commend the tax increase for its potential to save lives and decrease smoking rates, they believe more could have been done.
One rejected proposal by Gov. Kathy Hochul would have banned menthol and other flavored tobacco products. However, Stewart-Cousins anticipates a menthol ban by the Biden administration later this year.
Despite a significant decline in tobacco usage over recent decades, smoking remains prevalent among low-income individuals and people of color. New York plans to boost spending on smoking cessation programs by over $7 million, using funds from a national settlement with e-cigarette maker Juul.
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