Queens Chronicle: Cigarette taxes going up again

(June 24, 2010)

In case already high prices and the greatly increased risk of drawn-out painful death were not enough, smokers were given one more reason to quit Monday when state lawmakers approved raising cigarette taxes to the highest in the nation.
   The state share of taxes will rise to $1.60 per pack, pushing the price of each 20-cigarette box to around $11 in the city. They are slightly less in the suburbs, where city taxes are not imposed, and less than half that on Indian reservations like those on Long Island, where no tax is collected. 

 The Legislature also intends to start imposing taxes on reservation sales to non-Indians, however, a move which led to violent protests when attempted in the 1990s.
   Advocates applauded the state measure, approved as part of an emergency spending bill to keep the government operating despite the lack of a budget.
   "There is no doubt that these actions will save lives," said Scott Santarella, president of the American Lung Association in New York. "The bottom line is that cigarettes, when used as directed, kill."
   He added that other tobacco products, which also face tax hikes, are also deadly.
   The ALA says 120,000 adults will quit smoking and 23,000 teens never start due to the tax hike, which takes effect Aug. 1.
   — Peter C. Mastrosimone