NY State Approves $4.35/Pack Tax On Cigarettes

As we reported over the weekend, the NY State Legislature was considering a proposal to increase the state’s already high $2.75/pack tax on cigarettes by $1.60. And last night, the ayes had it over the coughing and hacking nos, making New York the most expensive place to smoke in the U.S.

More precisely, New York City, which charges its own cigarette tax on top of the state and federal taxes, is the most expensive place to light up, with smokers paying $6.85/pack in taxes alone.

In addition to the cigarette tax, the bill also raised taxes on cigars and chewing tobacco by 29%.

The tax hike, which is expected to bring in around $290 million a year, is part of the state’s plan to do something about its $9.2 billion deficit.

“We are going to collect revenue and ensure that young people don’t have access to cheap smokes,” said one politician.

This increase now leapfrogs New York over Rhode Island’s $3.46/pack cigarette tax and into first place.

While the state is hoping is hoping it doesn’t lose out on revenue by New Yorkers who go running across the border to New Jersey or Connecticut for cheaper cigs, the American Heart Association is holding out hope that smokers will just give up the costly habit rather than keep smoking.

“They are going to see well over 100,000 adults who will quit smoking because of this,” said the American Heart Association’s rep.

To all the smokers out there: At what price point do cigarettes become to expensive to smoke?

Legislature OKs raising cigarette tax $1.60 to U.S. high $4.35 A PACK! [NY Daily News]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mobius says:

    Another win for organized crime! They will earn a bundle off this new prohibition.

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      How was the Mafia doing in Rhode Island when it had the highest cigarette taxes?

      • Grabraham says:

        Between there tobacco sales, adult entertainment and waste collection they do very well in Rhode Island

      • MameDennis says:

        It’s not just “the mafia” by any means… there are many types of criminals who smuggle cigarettes. There’s a lot of info about it online–this link is a good start: http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba423/

        • bigTrue says:

          yeah, when I was living in Baltimore about ten years ago this was a big problem. Even bigger, cloves were illegal already there, but legal in DC, so people would go and buy trunkfuls to sell at the goth club. It was kind of funny.

  2. crackalacker says:

    This is painful to read, are there any editors?

    • ilves says:

      Don’t read a blog if editing bothers you

      • COBBCITY says:

        This is why I ignore “tip jar” comments. Love the site, but it’s riddled with errors, stories that seem to be put here just to full space, etc. Once I see Consumer Union put out a top quality site that is properly staffed (which they can afford) I will be happy to consider it.

    • OSAM says:

      No it isn’t

    • Zeniq says:

      “While the state is hoping is hoping it doesn’t lose out on revenue by New Yorkers who go running across the border to New Jersey or Connecticut for cheaper cigs, the American Heart Association is holding out hope that smokers will just give up the costly habit rather than keep smoking.”

      Other than certain parts of this paragraph, I don’t see anything painful about the article. I “is hoping is hoping” that you change your mind rather than “keep” criticizing.

  3. Bernardo says:

    As a New Yorker with Ashma from being raised with a family of smokers and having to deal with slow walking smokers in manhatten streets I say the higher the better. Yes I get there is an underground economy of cigs you can get in the streets from low lifes, but the more expensive they make these things the better. I hate having to always walk around the smokers on side walk or not being aboe to stand outside of my building because someone wants to get a smoke and feels the need to stand next to me. I just hope the state can fix its budget mess before they finish killing the cash cow.

    • evnmorlo says:

      Your family was the problem not low taxes. Now kids will grow up with asthma and malnourishment.

    • PleaseKickMeOffConsumerist says:

      You win the “Most Ignorant Comment Award” for the day.

      Just because you don’t like it, or don’t agree with it, doesn’t make it OK.

      Are you lactose intolerant? If so, by your logic they should tax the hell out of milk because it hurts your tummy (read in condescending baby voice). Guess what, people are legally allowed to smoke in the streets, why don’t you just go somewhere else. I also find it hard to believe that with all the fat people in our society that you would jump to the conclusion that the reason they slowly amble down the sidewalk is because they smoke.

      Boo to you, sir.

      • trentblase says:

        Which part was ignorant? What kind of jerk gives out insulting awards?

      • Jimmy60 says:

        Those crazy milk drinkers are always insisting that I drink some of their milk. The obese are constantly on me to eat some of their fries. That’s just like the smokers with whom I have no choice but to share their product with them. An addictive, carcinogenic product. I guess no one should have a problem with that.

        Do your drugs at home.

      • Bernardo says:

        What part of ashma dont you understand? its not that i dont like it, its that it can kill me. Next time try not to be a jerk, its just an article and I’m expressing myself in an adult fashion. Learn how.

    • stormbird says:

      “I just hope the state can fix its budget mess before they finish killing the cash cow.”

      Actually, in this case, the cash cow kills the customer.

  4. Etoiles says:

    When I used to work for CVS, the older men who came in for cigarettes daily grumbled that $3.50 was it, and they’d stop when it hit $4.

    And then when it was $4.36 after tax, they grumbled that was it, and they’d stop when it hit $5.

    And then I don’t remember what the next number was, about $6, and they grumbled that was it

    Anyway NYC is so damn weird. All of the taxes and all of the prices are set as if every resident was living between 14th and 96th.

    • mavrick67 says:

      I said when it hit ONE dollar dollar (in the 80’s) that was it, it took hitting FIVE dollars before I actually quit.

  5. grucifer says:

    I’d quit at those prices. I’m in PA and they are already at quiting levels. One more tax hike and I’m quittin’ for good!

    • AllanG54 says:

      Well, if all those people quit then it’s NOT going to bring in $290 million a year so the state figures that very few will quit if they’re relying on all these smokers to reduce the deficit. It’s one big oxymoron.

      • grucifer says:

        Exactly. The state is hoping people’s addictions are stronger than their will to hold onto $11 for a single pack of smokes.

      • pgh9fan1 says:

        Normally the number of people quitting is figured into the expected revenue.
        However, the decreased health care costs aren’t.

      • Tedicles says:


        This is just a shell game for politicians, to raise taxes and then count that into the next year’s budget.

        Guess what….people will smoke if they want to, and they will find ways to avoid the tax while doing so. So at the end of the day, you will have a budget shortfall (due to expected earnings), just as many people smoking (not that the gov’t should tax you into healthiness in the 1st place) and generally no change aside from more cigarettes bought from Indian reservations or illegally. Hmmmm….how about a LOWER tax that people will readily pay, then you can balance the g******mn budget! Not that we have time for logical solutions here, this is URGENT!

  6. danmac says:

    Maybe California should be looking at taxes like this and other “sin taxes” instead of ridiculous licenses plate advertisement plans…as a recent California-to-Washington transplant, I’ve noticed that products like cigarettes and liquor are significantly more expensive in Washington, due entirely to additional state taxes.

    People who disagree with me may point out that “sin taxes” often single out the poorest population demographics, and that’s a valid argument, but when the state government is running a huge deficit, all options need to be given consideration.

    • Azzizzi says:

      I disagree with sin taxes. It’s one thing to tax cigarettes to pay for cancer research or to cover some smoking-related expense, but I don’t think products should be singled out to pay for unrelated things. A few years ago in California, the answer to the state’s budget deficit was to increase the vehicle registration fees. This was also a bad idea.

      I’m not a smoker and I only own one car, so I would be affected less than others, but I don’t believe in approving taxing someone else because of something I dislike to pay for something unrelated.

      • Gramin says:

        It’s not that we dislike tobacco; it’s that smoking kills. There is absolutely no benefit to smoking. Why not tax it? Maybe it will discourage people from maintaining or picking up a habit that will probably lead to death and is a drain on healthcare.

        • Spike3185 says:

          So I’ll live forever if i quit smoking? Oh right, everyone dies one day anyway. Some of them from cancer even though they never smoked. Going out in the sun too long leads to skin cancer, why not put taxes on going to the beach? And I’m sure all of the money from the sin tax goes towards easing the healthcare burden. Sure.

        • Polish Engineer says:

          Not sure how I feel about the “no benefit” activities are free to tax stance. Determining whether or not an activity has benefit seems to be subjective at best. Donuts don’t really have any nutritional value either, but they taste really good. Should we tax them?

          I would think a better argument would be tax those things that have a quantifiable negative impact, not on basis of benefit.

          • danmac says:

            Smoking does have quantifiable negative impacts, though, in the form of a bevy of healthcare issues that smokers face as they get older. The government ultimately has to pay for many of those.

            • Polish Engineer says:

              Agreed. Smoking has proven negative health impacts that burden an already strained healthcare system. However, so does sugar and fat. Should the government tax ice cream at a rate similar to tobacco?

              At what point does the government have the right to reward or penalize lifestyle choices? The argument that they are personal choices that don’t have an impact on other people is pretty debunked due the collective nature of healthcare system and the insurance market. I don’t really mind them closing budget gaps on the backs of people who drain the healthcare pool, but my vice is not the target. I would be singing a totally different tune if they were going after my beer and pizza.

            • partofme says:

              I’m going to post up here, too. It’s easy to say, “The government has to pay for increased health care costs for smokers.” It’s harder to back it up. This is the most recent study on the matter that I can find. It is more than a decade old, unfortunately (1997). If anyone can find a more recent study on the matter, please post it. This one shows that we have short term savings in health costs from a major reduction in smoking, but increased long-term costs due to longer lifespans. At a reasonable 3% discounting rate, the break-even point is computed to be 31 years. 35 years if we increase to 5% discounting. So, unless given a better, more recent study, I think we can reasonably say that if your rationale is health-care savings, you’re proposing a short-sighted solution.

            • partofme says:

              Sorry… forgot to go back and actually paste in the link.

        • Azzizzi says:

          I don’t disagree with taxing something to cover the expenses it creates, but I disagree with taxing something based on what someone else believes is not beneficial to me. I know smoking is bad for your health and I don’t even smoke. I just don’t think we should tax everything we don’t like. That’s part of why there are so many taxes now – because people tolerate taxing others when they shouldn’t.

        • DangerMouth says:

          Because that puts the government, (and indirectly, all of us) in the position of a drug dealer: profiting from other people’s pain and misery.

          If it’s so bad, why not make it illegal? Because that would be taking away our freedom, that’s why. Oh wait, that’s NOT why. It’s not illegal because the tobacco industry spends billions of dollars to keep it legal.

          (full disclosure: I am a smoker, tho I don’t live in New York).

    • Munchie says:

      How about government run inside of a budget and reduce services?

      • danmac says:

        You’re just oversimplifying the problem and the solution, which helps nothing.

        • madmallard says:

          I disagree that he is. I have not been convinced or persuaded by anyone that the government refusing to contract inward economically just like the people that it governs is not a perfectly acceptable answer.

          Refusal to accept it as a solution has yet to be met with any convincing argument presented to me.

          And isn’t that the point? to be persuasive?

        • outshined says:

          I believe that if more people – and government – oversimplified the problem and the solution, we would be a lot better off. I find that most people make things more complicated than they need to be.

      • VeganPixels says:

        Since it’s primarily the blue-tone coastal areas who pay into state coffers and the red-tinged innards who suck up the payments, I approve your plan.

    • darklighter says:

      It’s a political impossibility to raise taxes in California, because it requires a 2/3 vote from the Assembly and the Senate (though it only takes a majority to cut taxes). The license plate concept is a byproduct created by an undemocratic system.

  7. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    I’m not a smoker, and I don’t particularly care either way, but I do find this comment kind of funny:

    “They are going to see well over 100,000 adults who will quit smoking because of this,” said the American Heart Association’s rep.

    I’d love to see the model used to figure this number out. I can’t help but wonder about the parameters, and how sensitive it is to unseen variables.

    Also, whether this will actually bring in the amount that they think it will remains to be seen. I also wonder what this will do to the newsstands that rely on this income.

    • danmac says:

      They probably used a model that vastly oversimplifies human psychology…maybe they gave a survey to smokers asking them the maximum price they would pay for cigarettes, then extrapolated that number to the entire smoking population. That would give them an artificially inflated number that doesn’t take into account people who would like to think they’ll stop smoking when cigs hit $9.00/pack but simply don’t have the willpower.

      • Gramin says:

        These aren’t vastly over simplified. Take a look at the link I posted above and let me know how “simple” that is. These are complex equations based upon several factors and evidence.

        • danmac says:

          Wow…that’s quite the study…next time, I’ll keep my speculation to myself.

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          No, they ARE vastly oversimplified.

          That’s the first thing one should learn in any decent econometrics course. All models are simplifications, fancy mathematics or otherwise. And the fact of the matter is that the paper you linked by Lee et. al is VERY much a simple model (though the math looks fancy, to be sure.)

          They checked for autocorrelation, which was good, but they seemed to ignore interaction effects, they didn’t bother to look for effects that income increases had (controlling for nominal vs. real cost), and they seemed to ignore the effects of unobserved heterogeneity. Those are two things I would have been concerned with. And why not fixed effects estimator? I would think one would want to control for these things. I’m particularly curious to see what happens if you drop the cigar variable. Or if you drop either of the cigarette variables.

          I can also see all sorts of problems arising with the models discussed on this post.

          Also note that California and New York are rather different locales. Much of the New York population lives within reach of CT or NJ or PA, and I’d bet that at least a few of the smokers here will go across the state borders to avoid the tax, assuming that the real cost (transit/time) is less now. Hell, that was mentioned in the article.

          Whether or not the models can adequately control for this remains to be seen. It’s one thing to plug everything into a time-series equation, get your statistically “significant” coefficient, and go, “I’ve explained the variability in the system!”

          First lesson of econometrics in grad school I learned was: be skeptical of models. Especially your own.

    • DarthCoven says:

      The newsstands make a meager few cents per pack on cigarettes, if anything at all.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        A meager few cents per pack is probably better than what they make on newspapers these days.

        And in a volume business, it’s painful to lose any revenue stream.

        • DarthCoven says:

          The real money is in candy, gum, sodas and the random knicknacks they’ve got behind the counter like single serve packs of advil, condoms, trucker vitamin packs and batteries. The same thing applies to gas stations. They make pennies per gallon and hope you go into their convenience store and buy stuff.

          • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

            Hmm. The reason I’m inclined to believe otherwise is that convenience stores make good money on cigarettes: http://www.center4tobaccopolicy.org/_files/_files/5376_Cigarettes_Generate_Big%20Revenue.pdf

            I can’t imagine that newsstands, with generally lower overhead, would have significantly lower profit margins on tabacco products.

            However, even if the margins are low, then the mere act of getting smokers there is huge. That’s a steady stream of potential customers on a regular basis, and losing that foot traffic will still be a negative.

    • msbask says:

      So NYC stands to lose over $250M in taxes if just 100,000 people actually quit?

      100,000 people (x) 365 packs a year each (x) $6.85 in taxes = $250,025,000

      • Gramin says:

        Wow… those are some uber-failure assumptions. First, the 100,000 adults are state-wide, not just NYC. Setting that piece aside, you’re math is still wrong. The current tax in NYC is $5.25 while the soon-to-be tax is $6.85. They’re not losing $6.85 per pack since those quitters never paid that amount. So, using your math below but substituting the correct tax number, we’re only at $191.6MM in lost revenues.

        Now, as of 2006, NYC had 1,065,000 smokers. Subtracting the 100,000, we’re at 965,000 smokers. Multiply that by the new tax of $6.85 and one pack per week and we get $2.4 billion in taxes. Subtract out the lost $200MM and we’re at $2.2 billion in taxes.

        Now, this is a bit off since not everyone smokes one pack per week and those classified as smokers encompasses a vast group of people. But I think I’ve quickly illustrated how awful your assumptions were.

    • Gramin says:

      Clearly you’ve never taken any sort of advanced economics classes. There are several ways that economists can model price elasticity, not to mention several past examples, such as tax increases in Cook County and California, which offer rich data.

      One such model can be found here: http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/14/suppl_1/i71.full

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        Actually, I did economics at a graduate level at a major research university. Not PhD, before anyone asks.

        And silly assumptions aside, I’m not questioning that economists can model price elasticity. I question how well they can do it, and whether or not this particular model is any good. There’s a key difference. Any time I see anyone claim that policy x will have effect y, I get to wondering what their model’s assumptions were. Thanks to my “advanced economics” courses, mind you.

        Just because I question one particular model doesn’t mean that I don’t know econometrics. I’m pretty good at R and Stata, for the record.

        • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

          Wouldn’t happen to be UCLA would it? Yes, chaos theory would have to be taken into account…what would happen if a bug destroys the crop….or all the NY legislatures actually get a clue…could happen…

  8. chaesar says:

    bwahahahahahaha *cough cough cough hack cough*


  9. Draygonia says:

    “Ensure young people don’t have access to cheap smokes”

    Or older people for that matter.

  10. MeCatLikesMeHamSanwich says:

    What the law makers fail to realize is that now there will be a growing underground tobacco industry where regulation and health inspections are non-existant. I see a lot more problems as cigarettes are made with all kinds of stuff worse than what they are now.

    • chaesar says:

      yeah, they could always smoke a pole

      • Rastaman4200 says:

        im assuming your the expert on smoking pole?

        • chaesar says:

          Ouch, oh boy, that was so good, you cut right to the heart of me. I thought my comment was airtight but you found a way in. Congratulations. Must’ve taken a lot out of you to fashion such an amazing sentence there. Why don’t you rest a bit, give your brain a chance to recover from the intense exertion required to masterfully wield the English language as you just did.

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      You mean like sawdust? If I wanted to make a bunch of counterfeit cigarettes, that’s what I’d use. Lots cheaper than anything that would really hurt you.

  11. nbs2 says:

    And once again, duplicity wins out. Is the tax intended to spur people to quit or to raise revenue. They can only have one of those. Or, are they just keeping the public distracted while they work out an alternative to the salt tax? After all, as people quit, that extra $290m is going to drop to $0 and then become negative. And then what will the state do for money?

    • Fair&Balanced says:

      Maybe cut their spending.

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      So a bunch of people quit? That’s bound to reduce Medicaid costs, which I would say makes this a win/win.

      • Bye says:

        Or increase Medicaid costs since people will in theory be living longer.

        • TouchMyMonkey says:

          Medicaid != Medicare. Anyways, healthier seniors are a much lesser drain on Medicare than those who limped, coughing and wheezing, to 65 by the skin of their teeth.

          • pantheonoutcast says:

            “healthier seniors are a much lesser drain on Medicare than those who limped, coughing and wheezing, to 65 by the skin of their teeth.”

            Stats on that supposition? Because it couldn’t possibly be correct.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      I think the hope is that while some people will quit, enough can’t be convinced to quit even at the higher price that revenue will still increase. If that’s the case, it becomes a win/win. Fewer smokers, more money out of those that do smoke.

  12. lilacorchid says:

    I quit when it hit $10 a pack where I live. That and they bylaws do not allow anyone to smoke anywhere indoors except my own house (which I don’t allow) and my car (and now we have a new bylaw saying that you can’t smoke in your own car if there are children under 16 in it).

    When it’s -30C, only the hardcore smokers are outside. Count me out!

  13. RyGuy1152 says:

    This is great news. NY is now killing two birds with one stone: making people quit smoking and closing their budget shortfall. If only more states would follow this lead.

    • trey says:

      think it is really that easy? if so, why didn’t the last batch of taxes help with the deficit? because they will ALWAYS spend more than they have.

  14. morehalcyondays says:

    I wonder if they realize that people will start buying their smokes out of state, or on the black market. Taxation in this country is getting to the level of thievery. It’s time for a tax revolt.

  15. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    The tax hike, which is expected to bring in around $290 million a year, is part of the state’s plan to do something about its $9.2 billion deficit.

    But you’re really doing this to help the people, right. I mean, it’s not about money at all, is it?

    • Gramin says:

      It’s about both. One, it reduces smoking. Two, it increases revenue. This is a win/win for NY. I see no problem with saying we want to reduce smoking so we’re increasing the tax on cigarettes. And, not only are we going to reduce smoking by doing this, we’re also going to increase revenues!

      Sounds great to me!

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        But if people quit smoking, then your revenue decreases. You can’t win/win in this situation.

        • Chris Morran says:

          there is the argument that when large numbers of people quit smoking, the state spends less on health care and on cleaning up litter from cigarettes. I’m not saying i necessarily subscribe to this, but it is something that pro-tax debaters will say.

        • darklighter says:

          Sure you can. Here, let me break this down into Algebra I for you. Let x equal current consumption in packs sold. Let y equal consumption in packs sold after this tax increase. To increase revenue, 4.35 * y > 2.75 * x. Divide both sides of the inequality by 4.35, and you get that y > 0.632 * x. Cigarette purchases could drop by THIRTY PERCENT and New York still comes out ahead.

          • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

            They can’t make the same amount of money. They claim this is to help the deficit, but if all these people quit, the money they expect it to bring in won’t be there.

            • darklighter says:

              Okay, for the 2009 fiscal year, the state of New York collected about $1.25 billion on cigarette sales. This is approximately a 60% increase, which means if nobody quits additional revenue comes out to around $750 million. But the governor’s office only projected $290 million in additional revenue! They’re not idiots. They factored a decrease in consumption into their projections.

        • denros says:

          I don’t disagree that they may make less money from taxes, I’m really having a hard time seeing the down side of this. Think about reducing the number of dead people clogging the sewers and street sweepers all the time. Plus have you seen the rats in the subway? I think you’re sorely mistaken if you think those rats would pass up smoked human.

  16. ThatsWhatSheSaid says:

    these idiots will still pay for them, why not keep raising it, atleast make as much as you can off of it

  17. savvy9999 says:

    Smoking became too expensive for me when they hit $2 a pack, oh, 15 years ago.

    The 2 or 3 times a year when I’m out and wasted and want a cigarette, I offer someone a dollar for one or two. It usually works out. I guess if I do it in NYC I’ll have to offer 2 bucks…

    I wish they sold cigs in little 2-packs or 4-packs, for bummers/OP-lovers like me. I don’t want any more than I can smoke that night (otherwise I’ll throw up); I don’t want 20 I want 2. You hear me, Altria?

    • Green Beer Day says:

      Smaller packs are prohibited by some of the FDA’s rulings and by the taxation on these products done at the federal and state level – else you would see them having single serve packs already. And many states ban the practice of breaking up packs to sell individual units at retail. You will still see it in corner stores in the ‘hood but technically it’s illegal by many state statutes.

  18. golddog says:

    Good job NY. Only $8.5B to go…you’re right on track.

  19. milkcake says:

    For those that think the gov’t will lose money when people quit smoking… sure that income is gone but also the expenditure for health care goes down.

    • SugarMag says:

      Actually, smokers use less healthcare dollars than nonsmokers because they die an average of 20 years earlier.

      • partofme says:


      • partofme says:

        To answer my own question, this is the most recent study I can find. But it’s more than a decade old (1997). However, their conclusion supported your idea. If all smokers quit today, we’d have a short term reduction in health care costs, and then costs would go up and up, due to increased lifespans.

  20. smo0 says:

    States that this will never happen in: Nevada and states where tabacco leaves are grown and/or manufactured.

    To put a great example of how this crap goes down here in NV.

    A couple of years ago – they made it so you cannot smoke in any establishment that serves food.
    We have a lot of pubs and bars with slot machines in them…..

    Wanna know how they abided? They got rid of the “food” portion of the establishment.

    They take smoking as a serious right here in Sin City.

  21. Grabraham says:

    Make friends with a Carolinian… even with shipping it will cost you a third of what NYC is charging

    • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

      It’s also illegal….NY puts these little freaking stamps on the bottom of the packs to say that taxes have been paid. Many an establishment have been caught in my area of NY buying cigs from Canada and/or the Native Americans and forgetting about those little stamps.

  22. Zen says:

    Sooo… It’s now cost effective to buy truckloads of cigarettes in Virginia at $4 per pack and drive them to New York to sell for $8 per pack? Unless they spend the revenue on border patrols, I don’t see this working out well.

    • majortom1981 says:

      New york will then turn around and fine or put the sellers in jail. just ask the indians whats going on here.

  23. Chairman-Meow says:

    “They are going to see well over 100,000 adults who will quit smoking because of this,” said the American Heart Association’s rep.”

    Oh great. So let me get this right:

    New York will gain 290,000,000 dollars in tax revenue. Now these guys are going to take that estimate and spend it like drunk sailors on shore leave. Meanwhile, they will lose the revenue from 100,000 who will quit because of the price which will instantly translate into a shortfall.

    Of course now that they spent all the cash, they will have to raise another tax to cover the shortfall.

    • asshatmcpoop says:

      That is true.

      Maybe next time, they’ll choose a product that everyone else likes.

      Beer, for instance.

      Let’s have a $3.00 tax on a bottle of water.

      Yeah. Products non-smokers have to pay for because they enjoy it.

  24. Mecharine says:

    I have cardiovascular problems that cause my heart tissue to harden. Cigarette smoke expedites that process. I say tax smoking back to hell, stupid slow moving ash mouthed bastards.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      I get this ringing sensation in my ears when people make faulty arguments. Tax ’em I say!

      • Coelacanth says:

        Please explain what the faulty argument is, here? That smoking (even secondhand smoke) has many deleterious effects on human health? That it has a significant impact on the progression of cardiovascular disease? (I’d like to see credible, peer-reviewed evidence suggestive of the contrary.)

        There are people who absolutely abhor the idea of cigarette smoke… from anyone. If the act were merely something that extolled its ill effects on the user only, then hey – so be it. Let people smoke themselves to death. However, there are swaths of people who are adversely effected by the choices others make. This is when it becomes public policy – especially with the number of people who have moderate to severe allergies to cigarette smoke, or those with asthma who are disproporationately harmed by others’ cigarette smoke.

        The argument really comes down to where the line is drawn – where one’s rights end.

      • Coelacanth says:

        *affected. Grr…

    • denros says:

      I’m a carrier for A1AT defficiency, which is a recessive trait. A1AT is a protease inhibitor which prevents damage to the lungs. Sometimes even carriers can have reduced serum levels. Did a lot of research when I found out about it, and along with a doctor came to the conclusion that people in my situation really don’t have any trouble- provided they don’t smoke. I also avoid 2nd hand smoke, as I’m also possibly more vulnerable to that. So I avoid it like the plague, and thankfully along with increased taxes, a city-wide smoking ban in bars and restaurants has been a life changer for me. There is no “right to smoke” in this country as it harms other people. End of discussion.

  25. swarrior216 says:

    It’s 2010 and people are still smoking. I don’t get it.

    • evnmorlo says:

      Indeed, we should all have morphine pumps.

      • DarthCoven says:


        • COBBCITY says:

          It’s a drug addiction. People need help to quit. Giving away patches or gum or other aides would be cheaper to the government than paying for all the medical care of elderly on medicare who suffer from lung cancer or other smoking related ailments.

          Yes, how anyone can smoke in 2010 escapes me.

          • hammond egger says:

            It’s 2010, people are still drinking alcohol? We should do away with that as well.
            All of you asshat non-smokers need to remember this: Every time the government is allowed to ban something or tax the hell out of it, it makes it that much easier for them to do it next time. You may be glad when it relates to smoking because you don’t like it but they WILL eventually get around to doing the same thing to something you enjoy and at that time, I hope all smokers rejoice in your loss.

            • Coelacanth says:

              The only difference is – there’s absolutely no level of smoking that isn’t neutral to one’s overall health status – and it’s certainly not beneficial. With alcohol, at least there is an acceptable level of consumption, and some evidence that even suggests the occasional alcoholic beverage is helpful.

              Oh yes, alcohol is taxed, too!

            • Coelacanth says:

              *is neutral…

  26. dolemite says:

    Next up, soda tax, more fast food tax, tv tax, and ….

    I thought it was hilarious when NY wanted to tax gym memberships. I mean…wtf…you want to tax people for being unhealthy, or being healthy…just make every person hand the government $20 a day for no reason and get it over with.

  27. RokMartian says:

    The first time I quit smoking, it was 95 cents/pack. Then a few years later, I started back and quit when it was 1.75. Haven’t gone back in over 20 years. I can’t believe people are paying that much to smoke now.

  28. jayphat says:

    To quote Penn Gillette:
    “The government uses the tax system as a form of social control. They tax you for ‘sins’ that deem innappropriate, and give you deductions for things they would like you to do.”

    And to quote the guy from the Center for Tax Reform:
    “It’s none of the governments god-damn business what I do. And so they shouldn’t be taxing me to tell me not to do something, or subsidizing me to tell me to do something. I have a mother and a wife for that”

  29. Scuba Steve says:

    “We are going to collect revenue and ensure that young people don’t have access to cheap smokes,” said one politician.

    So how do they intend to keep young people from having access to smokes? By making them easier to buy from someone who’s not going to check ID since most people will be forced to by black-market cigarettes? Cause I’m seeing the opposite result.

  30. brianisthegreatest says:

    Wow, lots of smoking haters on consumerist. Not ashamed of smoking here. It’s gone up a bit in Florida. I think I paid almost $6 for a pack this morning.

    Why does everyone on here call cigarette smokers slow moving? Do people think this is a personal attack? I don’t blow smoke in people’s faces. I understand there are negative health benefits for second hand smoke consumption, but isn’t there something statistically more dangerous you could be angry about?

    Something tells me you’re complaining is a misdirect. I’m certain there’s other factors you do not exclude from your life, within your own means, that presents odds to the longevity of your life. I’m serious. Each of you, how closely do you watch your own personal diets and nutrition? Exercise? Properly cook each meal with the right techniques that eliminate risks of carcinogens? Include in this list anything of the sort…

    When you go your neighbors barbeque, do you sit there in disgust thinking about how rude it is that he’s trying to give you colon cancer? Do you sit there thinking, if only there was a barbeque tax, that nice man would not be murdering us all?

    • smo0 says:

      I don’t ever judge someone on what they do to their own body.

      Side note on that: If they harm their own body and cry “free government benefits” it may or may not affect me.

      Now if something you do affects me…. I have every right to say what I want about it AND be in your face about it.

      I think that’s something people aren’t clear about when they comment.

      Yes, some people are “you smoke? you disgusting pig!”

      You say you don’t blow smoke in other people’s face? I can be near a smoker and I see that cloud coming over to me, or a down wind… or the 3rd hand smoke in which objects that are regularly exposed to smokes retain the cancer causing carcinogens… it’s the same reason some computer repair shops including retailer’s refuse service to people who own laptops and pcs that have “obviously” been in a smoker’s house.

      People think you’re only affect by a smoker if you’re within 3 feet of them. This is NOT true.

      To quote one of my fav’s “Keekee, Keekeekins…. I smell smoke… someone is smoking in a 6 mile radius! go stop them!”

      We (my job) have a patio in which it’s literally divided by a line (like in some god-awful sitcom) smoking/non-smoking.

      Let me tell you, in an open, OUTSIDE AREA, this still does nothing… I find myself coughing.

      So I can’t even use the patio – but being a nice gal, I just sit somewhere else to eat my lunch.

      You cannot conceivably smoke in public areas without affect someone relatively near you….

  31. SugarMag says:

    Doesn’t matter the price when you are an addict.

    I’m sure crack and heroin are v. expensive too. And a gambling addiction sure isn’t cheap either.

  32. EverCynicalTHX says:

    This good but I they should extend it to soft drinks, fast food, alcohol and other things that are bad for people. What I’d really like to see is a tax on fat people as well as a tax on anyone involved in dangerous activities like bicyclists or people that use cellphones while driving.

    I think it’;s a great idea allowing the government to invoke financial penalties to control everyone’s lifestyle. I’m glad so many here agree in principle also..right on, power to the peeps!

  33. Willow01 says:

    I personally don’t think people will quit over it, if anything people will start rolling their own since that’s cheaper then anything.

    Guess I’m glad I get mine out of the states. I can deal paying 60bucks total for 3 cartons of Camels with shipping included.

  34. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    I don’t hate smokers. I hate the fact that the government hikes the taxes on something that doesn’t make sense. If you want to raise the tax on cigarettes and use the money to help treat addiction or ad campaigns to curb smoking in people, then fine. Taxing something just because you can’t balance your budget right is ridiculous. Eventually, they’ll tax themselves out of revenue because people will quit or go to another, nearby state, that has lower taxes.

    It’s not that they are punishing smokers, for being smokers. If there wasn’t any smokers, they’d find something else to use as a scapegoat for their own inability to control spending (porn, soda, fast food). If they instituted a flat tax, nationally, we wouldn’t have the problem of people sneaking packs over the state borders. People might actually quit when the price gets higher. For now, they’ll just go where it’s cheaper.

    In Pittsburgh they added a drink tax to Allegheny County for the specific purpose of bailing out the Port Authority. It was either that or raise property taxes. While raising property taxes effects people living in the county, taxing the alcohol effects everybody who comes here for sporting events and other things. Then, they tried to take the surplus and use it for something else. BS. You got a windfall from this tax and now you are going to borrow from Peter to pay Paul. Then, when the Port Authority gets into trouble, again, oh, which THEY ARE, that surplus could be there to cushion the blow. IDIOTS! This is the guy who will probably end up being governor of the state.


  35. BuyerOfGoods3 says:

    Previous attempts at this have proven exactly the opposite. No one quits just because you raise taxes. Idiot. Previous studies from the AHA have blatantly admitted this, and that they were ‘investigating’ other possible methods for deterring smoking.

    I say move, or buy online if possible. Or drive to a different state if you’re near the border – they do it up north all the time.

  36. areaman says:

    Cigarette taxes – one of the few popular taxes against the poor.

    Outside of the US it would be a tax on the relatively wealthy.

    • Michaela says:

      Yeah. Taxes don’t really seem to deter them in my area. Instead, they continue to smoke and just cut expenses elsewhere (like on healthy things like produce).

      I do wish there was an effective way to reduce smoking though. Too many people on my campus stand just outside the doors with their nasty cigs…

  37. COBBCITY says:

    Smoking kills. I have never smoked and understand it is very hard to quit. My mother, a smoker since she was a teenager, is now fighting lung cancer. I am sickened by the number of “kids” I see smoking these days.

    If making cigarettes $20 a pack finally gets people to stop or seek treatment to do so, I applaud it. Of course, fewer smokers kills the tax revenue they aim to raise. If smoking was treated as a “drug addiction” (which it is, but we don’t like to call it that) more people could get help.

  38. sopmodm14 says:

    screw it an move out of NY so you don’t pay any of their taxes !

    i’m sure other states would love to expand

  39. AngryK9 says:

    I love the way the government works: Spend the shit out of money they don’t have, and jack the taxpayer to pay for it.

  40. Mr Fife says:

    LOL! WHenever politicians screw up, everyone else gets the bill.

  41. stint7 says:

    Second hand smoke kills 1 out of every 1 person immediately. Being near a group of smokers is exactly like being in a gas chamber during Hitler’s reign.

  42. DragonThermo says:

    I have a fantastic idea! I got it from a “Seinfeld” episode. I’ll rent a truck, load it up with cheap smokes, and drive into New York and sell them on street corners.

    After all, New York’s gun control and drug laws has made selling illegal guns and drugs a booming business. Can do the same thing for cigarrettes.

  43. sgnewman says:

    I don’t favor sin taxes. I find it a bit predatory and lazy to keep raising taxes on tobacco and alcohol. Not that I want to promote smoking or drinking.

  44. PEWood says:

    Ok, I’m a smoker and yes the taxes do bother me, but what bothers me even more is the reason for the taxes. This is another tax because our state government is corrupt and this is just another way for them to pay for stupid little things in their budget.

    I don’t know where everyone was when they wanted to put in the fat tax. Everyone was against that, but there was a report out on March 12th from the Wall Street Journal on March 12th that says “Health-care costs linked to obesity — and resulting conditions such as diabetes and heart disease — are greater than those related to smoking and problem drinking, a new study finds.”

    Shouldn’t we really be taxing soda and candy at the same rates that we are taxing cigarettes if obesity costs more to the health care industry.

    Shouldn’t we also be taxing gas at the same rates as well. Of course not everyone would be up in arms, or those of you who drink soda and are overweight or who drive everywhere.

    What the states really needs to do is look at cost cutting measures and balance their budget like every other household does.

  45. Vandil says:

    And sadly, people will simply seek cheaper alternatives online or wherever, and the tax hike will only be effective on the rich or the lazy.

    I expect NY State police to be patrolling the interstates more often looking for people transporting un-stamped cartons.

  46. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    It’s not about how expensive they are….it’s finding other ways to buy them. I can easily drive 10 minutes to PA and get cheaper gas and cheaper smokes. Yeah, that works out great NY

    I really have the NY legislature…what back ass way of bending the residence of NY over….AGAIN!! They pass this new tax law by saying we are doing this to help people quit. Okay, then how can one expect to gain any more in tax revenue to help the hole they put us in if people quit…freaking tard knockers. What else are they going to tax that they deem unsafe for us…when does this crap stop. When they don’t get enough money from taxing cigs…what’s next on their list?