New Yorkers who smoke now pay the highest tax in the country: $2.75 per pack of cigarettes. Some New Yorkers are switching to Roll your Own cigarettes, others are looking to Native American stores, the Internet and bootleggers…
"New Yorkers start paying the highest cigarette taxes in the nation Tuesday with the latest $1.25 spike per pack that officials expect to bring in $265 million a year.
"Convenience stores in New York and the smokers who will be pay the price are angry about the change, but health officials hail the tax increase as a success. Officials said cigarette taxes will raise a total of $1.3 billion for the state budget in fiscal year 2008-2009, including the new tax…
"Smokers will be paying $2.75 per pack in state taxes. The average price of a pack of cigarettes is currently $5.82 statewide, and about $8 a pack in New York City, Daines said.
"Audrey Silk, who heads NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment said it’s ridiculous to expect smokers to quit just because the price is climbing. She switched to rolling her own cigarettes since the last New York City tax increase and suggests other smokers will find similar ways to satisfy nicotine cravings.
"’No product has a tax at this rate on it,’ Silk said. "If there was, there would be screaming, but since we’ve been beaten into submission and nobody listens to us, what else is there to do? It’s unjustifiable and you turn to alternatives, and any consumer group would do the same.’"
"Convenience stores, which historically count on cigarette sales, have also objected to the tax, saying it will drive smokers _ and dollars _ elsewhere.
"’The tax increase is only going to feed that epidemic,’ said Jim Calvin, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores. ‘More and more smokers in New York state are going to abandon our stores that have to charge the tax and shift their purchases to places that don’t charge the tax, most notably Native American stores, the Internet and bootleggers.."