New York raises cigarette tax by a dollar, making it the highest in the country

Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 6:10 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Effective Friday, New York’s cigarette tax has gone up by one dollar. While some smokers might be fuming, others are applauding the decision.

The tax has been raised from $4.35 a pack to $5.35 a pack. It’s been historically high, but New York is now the most expensive tax on a pack.

“It was okay when it was 10 bucks. Now it’s 16 bucks a pack just about. That’s outrageous I’ll say,” said Bob Pack.

Many store displays have yet to reflect the change but folks are noticing the prices. One man tells us he feels singled out, and would rather see the government tax other things.

“They’re just trying to make it to where it costs so much where people can’t afford it. I don’t understand that,” said Paul Morgan.

Morgan used to live in Georgia where the cigarette tax is 37 cents per pack. Since moving to New York, he’s taken to rolling his own cigarettes in order to save money.

“You can go buy a bag of tobacco and a box of tubes and have a carton of cigarettes,” Morgan said.

Smoking cessation activists support the increase. Citing previous tax raises, Dr. Cheryl Gero with St. Joseph’s Hospital said the move may deter younger people from smoking at all, and give older folks a push to consider quitting.

Increased tax revenue also gives the state some education opportunities.

“We can put programs in place. Health programs and prevention programs in New York State. We can actually help more people with cessation services,” Dr. Gero said.

It’s the first tax increase on a pack of cigarettes since 2010.