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NYC Mayor Encourages Cigarette Smuggling with Plan to Massively Jack Up Prices

Increasing the minimum price of cigarette packs to $13.

On Wednesday, the mayor announced a set of five legislative proposals that his office claims will reduce the number of smokers in NY by 160,000 over the next three years. But Jeff Lenard, a spokesman for the National Association of Convenience Stores, questioned whether the legislation would put a dent in city smoking rates, and said it could instead lead to more out-of-state and black market tobacco sales. He said his goal is to reduce the number of smokers in the city by 160,000 over the next three years.

Mayor Bill de Blasio holds up examples of old and new smoking advertisements during a press conference to announce a series of bills to reduce the number of smokers in the city, April 19, 2017. He also asserted that 174,000 adults and 42,000 adolescents use e-cigarettes.

"Now I wanna be clear what we're up against: a multibillion dollar industry, a very strong industry, a very agile industry that should have been long ago knocked back on its heels but they keep coming back in new ways and that's why we have to go at this problem with a whole variety of tools and we have to be very, very aggressive", de Blasio continued.

Among the five bills slated to be introduced to the City Council is legislation to raise the minimum price for cigarettes and other tobacco products to $13 a pack - up from the current $10.50.

The measures would also require businesses to get a special retail license if they want to sell e-cigarettes.

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.

Another bill, by Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), would prohibit pharmacies, or stores that contain pharmacies, from selling tobacco products. Reducing through attrition the number of tobacco retailers citywide 3.

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