Streams

New Tobacco Tax: Will it Curb Smoking?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New York is poised to have the priciest cigarretes in the country. Will it curb smoking? Kenneth Perkins, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, discusses smoking habits and addiction.

→ What's your tobacco tax price-point? How much is too much?

Guests:

Professor Kenneth Perkins

The Morning Brief

Enter your email address and we’ll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.

Comments [52]

Oh for Pete's sake. this is argumentation for argument's sake. No one cared enough to actually look up any data, you "googled" and had "experience," but really you're just flying by the seat of your pants.

So for the challenged, I'll post a couple of useful round-ups of the established science of costs and motivations of smoking cessation:

WIKIPEDIA:

In 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that each pack of cigarettes sold in the United States costs the nation more than $7 in medical care and lost productivity,[72] over $2000 per year per smoker. Another study by a team of health economists finds the combined price paid by their families and society is about $41 per pack of cigarettes.[85]

Substantial scientific evidence shows that higher cigarette prices result in lower overall cigarette consumption. Most studies indicate that a 10% increase in price will reduce overall cigarette consumption by 3% to 5%. Youth, minorities, and low-income smokers are two to three times more likely to quit or smoke less than other smokers in response to price increases.

Jun. 24 2010 04:11 PM


WORLD BANK:

Myth 3: Smokers always bear the costs of their consumption choices.

Reality: Not necessarily so. They do impose certain costs on non-smokers. The evident costs include health damage, nuisance and irritation from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. In addition, smokers may impose financial costs on others (such as bearing a portion of smokers’ excess healthcare costs) . However, the scope of these costs is difficult to measure and they vary in place and time, so this report makes no attempt to quantify them In high-income countries, smokers’ healthcare costs on average exceed non-smokers’ in any given year. It has been argued that, because smokers tend to die earlier than nonsmokers, their lifetime health care costs may be no greater than those of nonsmokers; however, recent reviews in high-income nations conclude that smokers’ lifetime healthcare costs do indeed exceed nonsmokers’, despite their shorter lives. If healthcare is paid for to some extent by the public sector, smokers will thus impose their costs on others. . . .

Myth 5: Tobacco addiction is so strong that simply raising taxes will not reduce demand; therefore, raising taxes is not justified

Reality: Scores of studies have shown that increased taxes reduce the number of smokers and the number of smoking-related deaths. Price increases induce some smokers to quit and prevent others from becoming regular or persistent smokers. They also reduce the number of ex-smokers returning to cigarettes and reduce consumption among continuing smokers. Children and adolescents are more responsive to changes in the price of consumer goods than adults-that is, if the price goes up, they are more likely to reduce their consumption. This intervention would therefore have a big impact on them. Similarly, people on low incomes are more price-responsive than those on high -incomes, so there is likely to be a bigger impact in developing countries where tobacco consumption is still increasing. Models developed for this report show that tax increases that would raise the real price of cigarettes by 10 percent worldwide would cause 40 million smokers alive in 1995 to quit and prevent a minimum of 10 million tobacco-related deaths.

Myth 6: Governments will lose revenues if they increase cigarette taxes, because people will buy fewer cigarettes.

Reality: Wrong. The evidence is clear: calculations show that even very substantial cigarette tax increases will still reduce consumption and increase tax revenues. This is in part because the proportionate reduction in demand does not match the proportionate size of the tax increase, since addicted consumers respond relatively slowly to price rises. Furthermore, some of the money saved by quitters will be spent on other goods which are also taxed. Historically, raising tobacco taxes, no matter how large the increase, has never once led to a decrease in cigarette tax revenues.

Jun. 24 2010 04:11 PM
Don M from Edmonton, Canada

(con't)

gene: "by your kindly rationale, we should stop doing colonoscopies and mammograms. Look at the Soc Sec savings!"

I don't think I was making a eugenics argument in my earlier comment. Rather, I'm disputing the argument that smokers somehow "cost" governments more than non-smokers, and that we're therefore justified in passing that cost along to the smokers. It has been my experience, by no means exhaustive but more than zero, that these studies are conducted as follows: Smoking-related diseases cost the medical system x dollars to treat in a given year. Absenteeism among smokers costs y dollars in lost productivity (and there will be some ballparking). z number of packages of cigarettes were sold in that same year. (x+y)/z = $222 dollars. I was attempting to show that this calculation is false, because it doesn't balance it against the costs of not smoking (like extra Social Security payments, or dying of something else later).

Gene, the rest of your post describes several hard and soft costs associated with smoking. I'm sure the $222 people added in those hard costs (though possibly not the soft). Are you trying to justify passing the cost along to the smoker, as I discussed earlier? Or are you simply suggesting it's better to be a non-smoker than a smoker? If it's the latter, well, you clearly will get no argument from me. But if it's the former, then I think it deserves critical analysis, and we didn't get that from the segment this morning.

Jun. 23 2010 08:42 PM
Don M from Edmonton, Canada

gene: "How ignorant can you be? Plenty of studies show the MAIN instigator of cessation is cost."

I searched Google with the following question: "Why do people quit smoking?" I will admit to not finding evidence one way or the other in the first few pages of results. What I DO find are several pages of arguments made by well-meaning non-smokers intended to convince smokers to quit. Certainly, from a non-smoker's perspective, "Why do you waste your money on tobacco when you struggle to pay for food and shelter" is the smartest argument ever. But since I quit, I feel happier, healthier, and more energetic, but no richer. Higher cost may convince some people to try to quit, and perhaps the studies you mention reflect that. However, if someone is quitting with a mindset of "I want them, but I can't afford them so I can't have them", that effort is doomed to failure. People who quit successfully do so because they don't want cigarettes any more. Give them to me for free, and I still don't want to smoke them.

gene: "Tobacco _addiction_ is regressive, pulling needed funds from kids' food, schooling, medical care, etc. and redistributing those funds to tobacco cos."

Tobacco companies _and_ governments, let's be clear. And you make my point for me. Obviously, the best thing for the individual and his or her family would be to quit smoking, but the second-best would be for less money to be sunk into the addiction. I still don't think you've established successful quitting comes from making the price more prohibitive.

In fact, if price were really the issue, wouldn't the rich be more likely to smoke? The opposite is true - google was much clearer on this point than on the earlier one.

(con't)

Jun. 23 2010 08:40 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Puffer,
I too wonder about the many Americans I see in the grocery aisles whom can’t seem to wait ‘til after checking out before cramming their gullets with everything from grapes to soda, chips, and trail mix like junk food addicted mulard. They also eagerly get their children into the act encouraging a total lack of self control—something Ritalin can take care of later—that will stick with these children, like the plaques in their arteries, ‘til the day they die. And while watching these people gavage themselves, oftentimes for free… if they finish the package before they make it to the checkout line, you know they aren’t going to pay… get’s my goat, at least I don’t have to smell the eaters, even though I’m ultimately paying the price and seeing their butts everywhere too!

Jun. 23 2010 03:08 PM
puffer

smokers are ostracized yet big eaters walk while eating four course meals, at least I can talk about WNYC news topics while I smoke, the public food issues are pretty foul and even more damaging for kids to see then smokers......

Jun. 23 2010 02:25 PM


"People don't quit smoking because of cost. . . . tobacco taxes are regressive."

How ignorant can you be? Plenty of studies show the MAIN instigator of cessation is cost.

Tobacco _addiction_ is regressive, pulling needed funds from kids' food, schooling, medical care, etc. and redistributing those funds to tobacco cos.

Otherwise, your post reads as if you've been visiting screwball websites too often.

Re: costs of tobacco-related disease:

First of all, by your kindly rationale, we should stop doing colonoscopies and mammograms. Look at the Soc Sec savings!

But the truth is: smokers die sooner, but MORE EXPENSIVELY, especially to medicare/medicaid, which we all pay. Erbitux for lung cancer, for example, costs $15g's a month. Nonsmokers live longer but healthier lives, with less costly medical expenses at end. And their lives are more _productive_, relatively unfettered by debilitating diseases like COPD, cancer, heart disease, etc. Smokers have 50 per cent more absenteeism than non-smokers.

Consider also:

--The cost to families having to deal with one less wage-earner, or child-care giver. How do you quantify the loss of a grandparent no longer there to give wisdom and guidance, to share the duties of child-rearing, to ease the strain on a parent?

--The cost to a son or daughter or sibling who has to drop everything to come home to care for their ill relative.

--The cost to all of us of children no longer able to afford college. How DO you quantify the loss of a child's education from a parent who dies early?

The ugly myth first promulgated by Philip Morris to fight a Czech tax hike keeps getting regurgitated by the uninformed.

The various burdens of smoking can be searched for here:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?term=smokers%20cost%20expenses&search=Find%20Articles&db=pmc&cmd=search

Jun. 23 2010 02:03 PM
Don M from Edmonton, Canada

I listened to this segment with frustration. I quit smoking a year ago after twenty-three years as a smoker, and I have no regret and no desire to return. But price was never an issue, even at my poorest. Instead, I sacrificed what I had to in order to keep a supply of cigarettes at hand.

Politicians like tobacco taxes because they can follow a large increase with a lot of self-congratulatory bleating about what a positive health policy it is. Worse, they can connect it to clearly biased studies about the "true cost" of tobacco such as the one quoted today.

People don't quit smoking because of cost. Instead, tobacco taxes are paid silently by people too humiliated by their own addiction to protest, and those people tend to be found at the lower economic strata - in that sense, tobacco taxes are regressive.

As for studies, find one that acknowledges that non-smokers must also eventually die of something. I live in a country with a public health system, so the costs of treatment here are entirely borne by taxpayers through the state - here, the argument is even easier for governments to make that we all have a stake in one anothers' health. And yet, smokers tend to more commonly die of cancer, particularly lung cancer, and heart disease. Both can kill quickly, producing a big saving to the health system that every study like this ignores. Imagine the United States in which tobacco-related disease disappears tomorrow. Instead of 440,000 smoking-related deaths next year in the United States, 440,000 people live on to develop other diseases associated with age that are expensive precicely because they're non-fatal. How many more kidney failures leading to requirement of dialysis, non-deadly cancers requiring months of expensive treatment, Alzheimer's victims requiring constant supervised care will the system need to support? Further, those are people who, by living longer, have lengthened the term over which the taxpayer will be paying them a pension. Aside from health costs, imagine the burden to your already strained Old Age Security system in this circumstance. No anti-tobacco study will do this math for us.

This is obviously a cynical calculation ignoring the non-economic value of people's lives. I'm pleased to have increased my chances of being a burden on the government pension system. I'm excited to be at less risk of dying suddenly of something preventable. I can't recommend quitting highly enough. But your legislators shouldn't be quite so proud of increasing the tax burden on people already dealing with poverty and addiction.

Jun. 23 2010 01:17 PM
JP from NJ

Voter from Brooklyn

My lockdown comment was more towards we need to take some personal responsibility. We need laws, we need regulation and I agree we don’t have enough regulation on many things. But government can’t do it all. In the last 20 years we have lost just about all personal responsibility. For one of many examples, the produce department is the largest and usually the first department you see in any big grocery store and per pound just about the cheapest food in the store. But yet we make excuses as to why we eat from the middle isles of the store instead. And then we sit around and wonder why we are all fat and then try to figure out who to blame…. Re writing the farm bill could dramatically help this. But its not going to stop someone from eating at McDonald’s everyday. That takes personal responsibility.

Jun. 23 2010 01:08 PM
JP from JP

anonyme,

I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at. I never said tobacco is not an addiction. Believe me, I know what addiction is all about. I smoked 1.5 packs a day for 14 years and quit 13 years ago. I’m not quite sure why you say I have a heart of stone. Read my posts. I’m against the tobacco tax because taxing smokers and using the revenue on everything but helping smokers quit is very wrong. People who are truly addicted to smoking wont quit if the price goes up and they get no help in return. Are these not the people who are in immediate danger and need help the most?

Jun. 23 2010 12:46 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

JP,
I apologize if I misunderstood you, but your comment “We would all have to be on lockdown… Do you really want to live in a world wrapped in bubble rap?” had shades of “nanny state” government overreach talk a la the Libertarians and Tea Party members.
Personally, I think taxes are patriotic and a civic duty; they show every citizen’s respect for society and their fellow Americans. That said, the system can be taken advantage of and that’s why I’m in favor of measures to enforce a little personal responsibility be it sin taxes or denial of coverage.
I agree with you wholeheartedly, I support sin taxes (and ticket blitzes, actually), but I feel the revenue should be in a public health and safety lockbox.

Jun. 23 2010 12:42 PM
JP from NJ

Voter from Brooklyn

Hold on now. I never said government is my enemy and I never will. I pay taxes and I don’t complain about it. I’m not a blind idiot that thinks somehow public services will magically pay for itself…. I think you missed my point completely. First, just making stuff illegal or taxing it does not make bad things go away and never has. We have plenty examples in our own history of that. Remember studying about prohibition? We all know how that worked out… And as I mentioned in my post, the war on drugs for over 40 years and it’s stopped nothing… I’m not saying lets make crack legal but how about trying to understand why people smoke crack and going form there.

Second, just charging people more for smoking and using that money for anything but healthcare or helping people quit is a misguided and misrepresented tax at the very least. Honestly, I’d have no problem with sin tax if the money actually goes towards heath care and actually fighting addiction. But it never does, never. There is so much money spent on waist and corruption in local, state and federal government that never goes away no matter how bad of a fiscal crisis we are in. How about starting there? Why are we not rioting in the streets over that? We never have.

Now if we implemented a sin tax during the good times and the money was used just for healthcare that would be a different story. as I said I’m not against sin taxes or any tax as long as the taxes are used what they are supposed to be used for. This tax is a rob Paul to pay Peter thing. If you could make it honest, it could actually help some people. But it’s anything but honest.

Jun. 23 2010 12:27 PM
anonyme

JP - addiction to tobacco IS a real addiction - harder to get off than heroin, according to Everett Koop, former Surgeon General. Addictions don't just fall out of the sky, they are taken on as solutions to unmanageable problems. Sometimes an addict can learn other solutions when stress is removed. Do you have a heart of stone?

Jun. 23 2010 11:48 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

JP,
What you’re saying sounds like “the government is my enemy until I need a friend.”
The “nanny state” argument doesn’t work on me because the same people who cry nanny state want the government to protect them from things like pathogens in their hamburgers, oil in their Gulf, and lead cadmium and melamine in their cheap Chinese wares.
I believe we should have basic universal healthcare for all Americans, this would be paid for through taxation. Share reward and shared risk. However, we owe it to our neighbors and should expect some measure of personal responsibility. When Americans realize the fund they’ve paid into won’t be there for them because they “needed” or “deserved” neglect their health and burden their friends, families, and fellow Americans… I’m sorry, I just don’t have any sympathy for that.
We routinely deny healthcare to women on something that only directly affects them, the fetus, and the father of their unborn child; however, we feel it’s ok to burden all Americans with the effects of smoking, drug abuse, alcoholism, and food abuse/food ignorance? Really?!?

Jun. 23 2010 11:31 AM
JP from NJ

HJS,

In all due respect do you even know anyone who smokes? Are they all really “self hating”? Do you apply that to anyone who has a real addiction? It sounds like you’ve never known anyone with a serious addiction because calling them “self hating” way oversimplifies a problem you seem to not understand. You make it sound like lets just round up all the smokers and throw them in the Hudson because after all they’re all just self hating people…. That doesn’t sound like your usual philosophy...

Jun. 23 2010 11:28 AM
JP from NJ

Realistically? Hell no!!! Since half the population is obese, add to that all the other evils all us imperfect Americans engage in everyday, the government and health insurance would be paying out almost no medical costs… You are talking about a very unrealistic hypothetical. We would all have to be on lockdown… Do you really want to live in a world wrapped in bubble rap? Not to mention to implement something like that would be the biggest boost to the black market since the start of the war on drugs back in 1968 and we all know how well that’s going….

Jun. 23 2010 11:13 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

JP,
Legal/illegal taxed/untaxed does matter. Here’s a hypothetical: What if anyone medically proven to be a smoker, heavy drinker, IV drug user, illegal steroid user, prescription or over the counter drug user, food abuser, or anyone who broke the law (e.g. not wearing a seatbelt or helmet only when mandated by law) is denied coverage under Medicare, Medicaid, and any government subsidized private healthcare? The only exception I would have is for communicable disease as a public health issue. I’d be all for that, would you?

Jun. 23 2010 10:55 AM

JP
if u don't wear a seatbelt u might get a ticket. i know life is not fair.
i still see no reason to pay for the healthcare costs of these self hating people. and i'm happy to see albany end this subsidy.

Jun. 23 2010 10:54 AM
JP from NJ

hjs,

Is it fair you should pay health care costs for people who don’t ware seatbelts or drive drunk or don’t ware helmets on motorcycles in states that don’t require them or heroin addicts or PCP addicts or long term alcoholics etc, etc, etc…. There’s lots of risky behavior that you pay for. Making it legal or illegal, taxed or untaxed does not change that. Its a fact of life that will never change.

Jun. 23 2010 10:44 AM

SuzanneNYC
is it fair that U & I should pay the medicare costs for smokers

Jun. 23 2010 10:32 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Two birds with one poppy?!?
That’s just brilliant. We already have fat-a** Americans who can barely roll themselves off the sofa to climb the stairs of their McMansions high on sugar, baked out of their minds when not fresh off a trip to the local meth lab keeping Mexican drug pins in business drinking like fish and running over people on the highways while texting and chatting on their mobile phones. Opium dens are exactly what over-fed undereducated drugged up Americans need. As long as it’s all heavily taxed so I don’t have to pay for your abominable health.

Jun. 23 2010 10:31 AM
The Truth from Becky

I am getting grossed out just by talking about this and the yucky picture on the main page.

Jun. 23 2010 10:29 AM
peter from bronx

smoking is a addiction - why punish us more I want to stop smoking but feel this is not the way -if you want to say smoking cost the rest of society -what about gas ? what about drinking -why not increase the tax on other behavior -I live in a poor neighborhood and see many more people smoking and people who are better off making judgments about addictions I say go after the bars -go after the cars that pollute our city then come back to me. so far my health has not costed the tax payer more than say chasing a war , or drilling for oil - , why can't we be a little less judgmental about addictions

Jun. 23 2010 10:29 AM
Rodney from Massachusetts

Question

Did the economist who calculated the true cost of a pack of cigaretts deduct the contribution that smokers illnesses make to the profits in the health services field?

Jun. 23 2010 10:29 AM
The Truth from Becky

Susan, he killed himself. Reality bites.

Jun. 23 2010 10:27 AM
Dano from Kearny, NJ


Soon to be 59 years old, I have NEVER tried to smoke one puff of anything ever and will never understand that attraction to smoking. I am concerned that higher taxes might cause an increase in boot-legged cigarettes thus creating more crime?

Jun. 23 2010 10:26 AM
SuzanneNYC from UWS

I am a non-smoker but it seems to me that the cigarette tax is becoming ridiculous -- how high will it go? Despite the many reasons not to smoke, it seems unfair to target this small group over and over rather than taxing something used by the public at large. Can it go on indefinitely? Won't it become diminishing returns? Evidently the tobacco industry has given up the fight. Look at the howling from the beverage industry about the proposed soda tax. That would generate some income and also benefit society.

Jun. 23 2010 10:26 AM
Caitlin from Bed-Stuy

I am a smoker. I've thought about quitting for health reasons, but I truly just enjoy smoking. I'm as polite as a smoker can be about it; I avoid smoking around children and non-smokers, but now I'm being forced to stop because of the completely absurd taxation on cigarettes.

Jun. 23 2010 10:26 AM
Amy from Manhattan

There are 2 things I'd like to tell every smoker: You have a better chance of quitting if you work with a doctor, & most smokers need to quit several times before it sticks (so going back to smoking isn't a failure--it's just part of the process).

Jun. 23 2010 10:25 AM
Marielle from Brooklyn

I would LOVE to see cigarettes get too expensive for kids!

Jun. 23 2010 10:25 AM

Susan
he killed himself!

Jun. 23 2010 10:25 AM
geo from astoria

People who always complain about taxes should be forced to move to communities with no sewer systems, no paved roads, no police, fire dept, etc etc.. Tax em!! It benefits us all. Tax is not a four letter word.

Jun. 23 2010 10:25 AM
dbnyc from brooklyn

the price is not high enough yet. we need higher taxes on consumption generally (as opposed to income) and very high taxes focused in harmful consumption is good.

many younger people (girls especially) smoke instead of eating and $13/day for "food" is ok with them.

Jun. 23 2010 10:22 AM
Ed N from Morris County NJ

the caller who said that he objects to the "social engineering" of high taxes on tobacco, and who prefers that cigarettes be made illegal, has really not thought this through. Making alcohol illegal did not work well for us, and pot prohibition has been just as disastrous. Besides, taxing destructive behavior is a legitimate role for governments to play, IMO.

Jun. 23 2010 10:21 AM
charles Harris from island heights nj

We can kill 2 birds with one poppy plant.

support poppyt farming in Afghanistan
import the poppies
legalize drugs

The war will end
We break the drug cartel
we become wealthy
Afghanistan will; be our friends

Jun. 23 2010 10:21 AM
Jenn from Upper East Side

I like California's solution to this problem. They have a Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, and the taxes from cigarettes go to the funding of important scientific research.

Jun. 23 2010 10:21 AM
Brian from Nj

These smokers end up in hospitals as many as a dozen or more times at the end of their life for exacerbations of COPD which ultimately kills them. I am a young healthy marathon runner yet I pay the same insurance rates as the wonderful Yolanda who doesn't care about her health or my insurance bill. That is a joke. If I get speedig tickets I pay more for car insurance but people who smoke pay the same health insurace rates as nonsmokers. That is a joke.

Jun. 23 2010 10:20 AM
Susan

My husband was a heavily addicted smoker who tried numerous times to quit. When the taxes became more than he could afford, he switched to rolling his own, which were stronger and unfiltered. He died of emphysema three years ago. I believe the cynical government tax killed him.

Jun. 23 2010 10:19 AM
geo from astoria

I quit smoking 5 months ago after 14 years of smoking.
It was the best thing i did.
It took me 3 years of gradually cutting down. Do it! i feel great. I can breathe again.

Jun. 23 2010 10:18 AM
The Truth from Becky

Not absurd, if you want to smoke pay the price, never smoked, never will. A smoker will pay any price to keep smoking. Literally an arm and leg.

It stinks, you stink and everything you own.

Jun. 23 2010 10:18 AM
JT from Long Island

Would it help if employers made people clock out for their smoke breaks? I know smokers that seem to take a 10-15 minute smoke break 4 or 5 times a day. If that cost them an extra hour at work that might make some more people quit.

Jun. 23 2010 10:17 AM
Tabitha from Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

Can I be facetious for a second, and say that I now feel increased pressure to continue smoking, because if we all quit then the budget will always be in the red! Yup, I'm blackening my lungs to meet the budgetary needs of my state. What a loyal New Yorker I am.
I'd be interested to see the response if the government decided to radically increase the tax on other controlled substances. Yeah, I am talking about alcohol: if us smokers are carrying part of this state's fiscal burden on our back, then why shouldn't the drinkers carry that burden as well? And why is this tax acceptable, but the unhealthy food tax isn't?

Jun. 23 2010 10:17 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn, NY

As a former social smoker who still enjoys an occasional cigarette, I find this tax ludicrous. While it may be good for NY's tax coffers, at what point does the tobacco industry in the southern US start fighting back because their tax coffers and industry is suffering?

The state can't pass a measely soda tax, nor congestion pricing (in the city) - which would arguably have equal or greater long-term health benefits for all residents - yet adults who make the personal choice to smoke get hammered with these increases?

Jun. 23 2010 10:15 AM
Leah

Brian, can you please ask the caller if she receives public assistance for health care? Her glib attitude about enjoying smoking is part of the reason that health care is to expensive.

Jun. 23 2010 10:15 AM

I don't understand this debate. smokers cost medicare and insurance premiums millions every year. why should I subsidized their bad habit and lack of control?
the same goes for sugar. drinking sugar in the form of soda leads to diabetes and other health problems.
TAX THEM and tax them more. I don't want to pay for others self hatred.
tax soda! tax oil!

Jun. 23 2010 10:14 AM
Gabriel from manhattan

Who buys cigarettes in NYC anyway? I'm a light smoker, and buy my cigarettes abroad or online. I don't care if it's a 50$ a pack in NYC...

Jun. 23 2010 10:13 AM
Ben from Harlem

This is getting absurd. If I want to smoke, I will find a way. The threshold this will make me cross is an occasional out-of-state trip to pick up a few cartons.

Down with the moral police.

Jun. 23 2010 10:13 AM
Peter Shelsky from Brooklyn

The high price of cigarettes were, without a doubt, a contributing factor to my quitting 1 year and a half ago. It was high before. Now, if I was still smoking, it is as simple as this: There is no way I could afford to smoke.

Jun. 23 2010 10:12 AM
Bryan Keller from East Village

More and more people will just buy them from the Chinese ladies who sell them in bars for $7 a pack.

Jun. 23 2010 10:11 AM
MFan from Clinton Hill

Another equally valid question (in addition to at what price-per-pack will it get people to quit) is at what price-per-pack does it start to create a robust underground economy of cigarette bootleggers? Unlike (illegal) drugs, all you need is a car and a few hours' drive to come back with a trunk full of profit. There are some people who do this now, as there always will be, but at what point does it hit a critical mass?

Jun. 23 2010 10:06 AM
Bobby G from East Village

Cigarette money is a community resource that does not get regenerated into the community. If all smokers in New York State pooled their cigarette money for one day instead of putting it into a pack of cigarettes they would have enough money to fund all the rehab centers required to treat everyone who wants to stop smoking.

Jun. 23 2010 10:01 AM
Bobby G from East Village

I support the tax because it will contribute to the enormous amount of money the State makes in Medicaid payments.

Jun. 23 2010 09:44 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.