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Price of Cigarettes in NY to Soar to Nation's Highest

Price of Cigarettes in NY to Soar to Nation's Highest

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday signed a sweeping series of anti-smoking bills, part of a comprehensive effort to help reduce the number of smokers in the city by almost 200,000 over the next few years.

The Fire Department's Incident Management Team and the Urban Search and Rescue Rapid Response Team are among those headed to the region.

The mayor's office hopes to reduce the number of smokers in the city by 160,000 in the next three years.

Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) is likely to suffer negative effects from new anti-smoking regulations that just became official in New York City this week. They were bringing aircraft, vessels and manpower.

And pharmacies are not permitted to sell tobacco products.

Creating a retail license for e-cigarettes and capping the number of e-cigarette retailers - The bill would require that sellers of e-cigarettes be issued a license, similar to cigarette retailers.

The price hike from $10.50 to $13 gives New York City the highest price in the country, the mayor said. According to data provided by the mayor's office there are now 900,000 smokers in the city.

Opponents of the price increase say it may push many smokers into buying untaxed, unregulated cigarettes on the black market. Bloomberg credited the anti-tobacco measures in his administration to increasing the average life expectancy in NY by three years during the 12 years in which the polices were in effect.

"We have these major global corporations that clearly know better, but to make a buck they are looking to hook a whole new generation of young people on tobacco products and we have to stop them", he said.

Ann Boonn, director of research at the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, noted that New York City's current $10.50 minimum price doesn't prevent some retailers from selling packs at more than that.

Also, she said some states require a minimum markup on cigarettes based on a percentage of the base price set by manufacturers and wholesalers, which in some cases already puts those prices at more than $11.50 a pack.

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