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City Council Votes to Raise Price of Cigarettes to Minimum of $13 a Pack

By Ben Fractenberg | August 10, 2017 4:43pm
 The City Council voted Wednesday to raise the minimum cost for a pack of cigarettes to $13.
The City Council voted Wednesday to raise the minimum cost for a pack of cigarettes to $13.
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MANHATTAN — The City Council passed legislation to raise the price of a pack of cigarettes to at least $13 and ban their sale in pharmacies.

Wednesday’s vote came nearly four months after Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council members announced the plan to hike the cost of cigarettes and limit the number of places they can be sold.

“As someone who struggles personally with tobacco addiction, I know firsthand the grip that this substance can have on our lives,” Councilman Corey Johnson in a statement. “I also know that together, we can loosen its grip and win the battle against Big Tobacco.”

The legislation will now head to the mayor’s desk for his signature.

Officials said during the April announcement that their goal was to reduce the number of smokers in the city by 160,000 in three years.

The plan also includes regulating e-cigarettes and cutting the more than 8,000 retailers licensed to sell cigarettes in half.  

More than 30 council members voted for the bill, while nine opposed it.

Retail industry advocates slammed the legislation, pointing out the negative economic impact on small business owners.

“Our retail members share the goal of preventing underage tobacco use, have worked hard to prevent such sales and it has worked,” said Jim Calvin, president of the NY Association of Convenience Stores.

“These measures will destroy the business investment of retailers who have been leading the effort to prevent youth access to tobacco products, and the result will be lost revenue, lost jobs and an increasing number of sales in unregulated and illegal settings.”