July 1, 2010 – Starting today, New York City smokers will have to pay $11 or more for a pack of cigarettes. The $1.60 New York State tax increase will push the cost of cigarettes to more than $300 a month and $4,000 a year for people smoking a pack a day. Although New York City has reached its lowest rate of smoking on record (15.8%), nearly a million New York City adults are still putting themselves, and often the people closest to them, at increased risk of cancer, heart disease, emphysema and many other deadly and disabling illnesses by continuing to smoke. The Health Department encourages New Yorkers to take this occasion to quit. Smokers can get help by calling 311 or 866-NY-QUITS, or by visiting nysmokefree.com.
“Now is the time to quit,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner. “Smoking is hurting your health and your wallet. For the many New Yorkers looking to save money, this is a great way to do it. You will feel better, your families will be safer and you will save yourself hundreds of dollars every month.”
Tax increases have played an important role in the battle against tobacco addiction. New York City has more than 300,000 fewer adult smokers today than in 2002 – thanks in part
to price increases – and smoking has dropped 52% among public high school students since 2001. The last New York State cigarette tax increase, in 2008, prompted more than 2,700 calls to 311 for help to quit over the course of one week – three times the number of calls during the same period in 2007.
The state tax increase taking effect this week raises the price of a pack of cigarettes in New York City by more than 20%. Because of its additional local tax, the city has the nation’s highest combined tax in the country ($1.50 in city excise tax, $4.35 in state excise tax and $1.01 in federal excise tax).
- Set a quit date and mark it on your calendar. Get rid of ashtrays, lighters and cigarettes.
- Visit your doctor for support and advice with your quit plan.
- Make a list of reasons why you want to quit.
- Make a list of family and friends who will support you.
- Avoid triggers such as alcohol, caffeine and other smokers.
- Exercise to relieve stress, and improve your mood. Try a brisk 30-minute walk at least four days a week
- Consider using a safe nicotine alternative such as patches, lozenges or gum, which can double your chances of quitting.