Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

NYS tax hike on cigarettes is expected to reduce smoking rate and save lives

A man with a cigarette and another man with a vaping device blowing smoke.
Courtesy Quote Wizard
Cigarette tax hike is expected to reduce smoking rates, which had risen in part due to vaping.

New York State increased the sales tax on cigarettes earlier this month to the highest in the country. Onondaga County Health officials say the increase will both save lives and prevent kids from smoking. The state taxes have risen from $4.35 to $5.35 a pack.

Tobacco Free CNY coordinator Karen Johnson says changes to policy have worked to deter smoking before in New York.

“At the height of the vaping craze, we were seeing around 30% of youth using tobacco products, and now we are down to 18% … And we think some of that is related to some of the other policy that’s been implanted: Getting rid of some of the flavor products available, some tax increase in the vaping products as well,” said Johnson.

The Onondaga County Health Department has cited research by Tobacco Free and other organizations that shows why the tax increase will benefit all New Yorkers.

The American Cancer Society says more expensive cigarettes will prevent as many as 15,000 smoking-related deaths. It also suggests the tax increase will stop about 14,000 kids from starting to smoke. Johnson says the increase in cost is specifically restrictive for those with limited disposable income … and many of them are kids. Plus, The New York State Health Department says the state spends 9.7 billion dollars-a-year of taxpayer money on smoking-related healthcare expenditures. Despite that, Johnson says cigarette smoking remains a public health concern:

“Tobacco company marketing is very savvy. I think they always have a leg up as far as, you know, what products we can introduce that appear to be, you know, safer or appear to be, you know, more cool,” added Johnson.

According to Tobacco Free CNY, 16% of adults in Onondaga County are smokers. Across New York, 12% of adults are smokers.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about the effects of smoking can visit or call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) seven days a week.