The new state budget isn’t official yet, but one certain outcome is that it will boost the state cigarette tax by $1.25 per pack, making it the highest in the nation. The state’s $2.75/pack tax, combined with New York City’s own $1.50 tax, will push the cost of major brands to over $9 per pack in the city.
The American Cancer Society is claiming the tax hike will somehow prevent over 200,000 teenagers from ever taking up smoking — an absurd assertion. Audrey Silk, the 2005 Libertarian Party candidate for NYC mayor, cuts right through the crap and tells it like it is:
“This is putting a gun to my head and saying you are taking money from me for my own good,” said Audrey Silk of Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, based in New York City. “It’s no different than a robber saying that when he’s sticking you up.”