Mayor of New York City wants to raise the base price of cigarettes to $13 a pack

NEW YORK CITY, New York– Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to increase the price of cigarettes to help fund public housing.

Currently, the base price of a pack of cigarettes is $10.50 in New York City. The national average is $6.16. Under the mayor’s new plan, the minimum price for a pack would be $13. That’s roughly triple the total cost of cigarettes in North Dakota (with an average of $4.52 a pack.)

New York is the only state with a double-digit price, averaging $10.44 statewide. Its neighbor, Connecticut, is the second-highest at $9.16.

Mayor de Blasio’s announcement comes just two days after the American Cancer Society released a report, showing New York was “oversaturated with tobacco merchants,” some 9,000 sellers across the five boroughs. He also wants to target licensing to reduce the number of tobacco sellers in New York City.

De Blasio announced his plans in a series of tweets, saying the e-cigarette industry will be licensed the same as cigarette retailers.

He added that “there are 29 more times more tobacco sellers than Starbucks in New York City.”

14.3% of New Yorkers were smokers in 2016, up from 13.9% a year before. But both numbers are down significantly from 2003, when 18.3% of people in the city smoked. That was the year then-Mayor Bloomberg imposed a smoking ban on bars and restaurants.