NYC mayor backs proposal to raise cigarette prices

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio seen

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that cigarette prices in the city would go up $2.50 to $13 which, de Blasio bragged, would be "the highest price in the country".

Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Smokeless tobacco would also cost at least $8 and the price for tobacco-containing shisha packages would be set at $17 under the bill.

The current floor price on a pack of cigarettes in the city is $10.50. Currently, the minimum is $10.50.

There are now about 900,000 smokers in New York City, according to the mayor's office.

The city said there are about 900,000 smokers across the five boroughs, including 15,000 young New Yorkers. "These companies have used the same playbook for decades, and we can no longer sit by while the next generation becomes addicted".

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The liberal Democratic mayor offered rare praise for the "extraordinary work" of the man he replaced, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who barred smoking in parks and established the minimum price.

At $13, a pack in NY would cost triple one in North Dakota and be more expensive than a city sandwich or a typical cocktail.

Twenty-one percent of Mid-Island adults also smoked, the third highest rate in the city, according to those surveys.

Our government should adopt the United Kingdom's Royal College of Physicians position that "the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5 percent of the harm from smoking tobacco". Another bill will cap the number of tobacco retailer dealer licenses in each of the city's community districts at 50 percent of the current number, meaning that, if passed, the number of stores in your neighborhood slinging smokes will cut in half.

All of the bills in question will be heard in committee on April 27, and have enough backing to make their passage all but certain.