State Cigarette Taxes Increase Today; State Health Commissioner Urges Smokers to Quit and Call the Smokers' Quitline

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 1, 2010) - State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., urged New Yorkers to quit smoking rather than pay the $1.60 per pack State cigarette tax increase that takes effect today. With the increase in effect, the tax on a pack of cigarettes will rise to $4.35 per pack and $5.85 a pack in New York City – the highest cigarette taxes in the nation. This tax continues New York's national leadership in the fight against tobacco use, the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the United States. A pack of cigarettes will now cost more than $10 in New York City and more than $8 across the rest of the State.

"This tax increase should be the motivation smokers need to give up this deadly addiction for good," Commissioner Daines said. "The health benefits of quitting smoking are undeniable. Smokers who quit are at a lower risk of developing smoking-related heart disease and suffering from strokes, cancer and emphysema. If you smoke, now is the time to talk to your doctor or call the New York State Smokers' Quitline."

The Quitline offers free services to help people stop smoking, including nicotine patches, coaching, quit plans, information and free online help. To access the Quitline, call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit www.nysmokefree.com. Residents of New York City can call 311 to be linked to the Quitline.

Taxes will also increase for other tobacco products, such as smokeless tobacco products and cigars, from 46 percent to 75 percent of the wholesale price.

Increases in tobacco taxes are expected to prevent 170,500 New York kids from becoming smokers, motivate 86,100 adult smokers to quit and save 77,000 New Yorkers from premature, smoking-related deaths. The increased tax will also save $4.8 billion in future health care costs and raise $290 million in 2010-11 in State revenues.

"This is a win-win for the health of New York State," Dr. Daines said. "Fewer adults and children will use deadly tobacco products and the State will generate revenues to help sustain important programs and services."

"Smoking is not a habit," said Jeffrey Willett, Director of the State's Tobacco Control Program. "It's an addiction, and it's hard to quit. The State Health Department's Smokers' Quitline provides free services that increase the likelihood that a smoker will quit for good."

Smoking Facts

  • On average, smokers die 14 years younger than non-smokers.
  • Smoking increases a person's risk of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and other cancers.
  • Secondhand smoke also causes heart disease and cancer, and contributes to asthma and other respiratory illness.
  • Infants with a parent who smokes are more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
  • Babies and children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to have asthma, bronchitis, ear infections and pneumonia.
  • Smokers who quit rapidly lower their risk of heart disease and stroke, and steadily reduce their risk of lung cancer.

Tips on Quitting

  • 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, including alcohol, caffeine and other smokers.
  • Exercise to relieve stress, and to improve your mood and health.
  • Consider using a safe nicotine alternative such as replacement patches, gum or lozenges.

For help quitting smoking call the New York State Smokers' Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit www.nysmokefree.com