New York State’s $1 Cigarette Tax Hike Goes into Effect September 1st

Higher costs encourage adults to quit, deter youth from smoking, but flavored tobacco products continue to attract and addict new smokers

Beginning Sept. 1, 2023, New York State’s cigarette tax will be the highest in the nation. The $1 hike is the first cigarette tax increase since 2010 and changes the tax from $4.35 to $5.35 per pack of 20 cigarettes. Research shows a 10% increase in tobacco prices would be expected to decrease tobacco consumption by 4% .

“Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States,” said Erica Masin, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in metro New York. “Big tobacco works to addict our young people and our most vulnerable communities through predatory marketing schemes and flavored products. New Yorkers everywhere deserve betterand we applaud the State for taking another step to drive prevention and cessation of these dangerous products.” 

The latest data from the NYS Department of Health show that one in five high school-age youth uses tobacco products.  New York State spends approximately $9.7 billion annually on preventable smoking-related health care costs and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network projects the impact of the higher tax will save 15,300 New Yorkers’ lives and prevent 14,400 youth under age 18 from becoming adults who smoke. The Lung Association's State of Tobacco Control report shows there are 28,170 smoking attributable deaths every year in New York. 

“The American Lung Association applauds New York State on today’s leap forward for public health, as the tobacco tax in New York is now the highest in the nation,” said Trevor Summerfield, Director of Advocacy in New York State for the American Lung Association. “Raising the tobacco tax is one of the most effective ways to promote smoking cessation, prevent youth initiation, and save the lives of New Yorkers.” 

Summerfield continued, “I know first-hand. As a former pack a day smoker for more than 10 years, the taxes that made It economically unfeasible, coupled with unconscionable health outcomes, helped me overcome  what the tobacco industry fueled—one of the most difficult obstacles I've overcome is addiction to tobacco.”

Today’s tax hike follows a range of new tobacco polices implemented by the State over the past few years. In 2019, New York raised the minimum legal sale age to purchase tobacco and vapor products to 21, established a 20% tax on vaping products, and required registration for vapor product retailers to regulate the sale of these products to restrict access, especially among young people. Those policies were followed in 2020 by several strategies that restrict youth access to tobacco and vaping products. Among other things, new state laws ended the sale of tobacco and vapor products in pharmacies, banned the sale of flavored vapor products, ended price discounts on tobacco products, and stopped the shipment and delivery of vapor products to private residences.

Healthcare providers and QuitLines from both New York State and the American Lung Association provide support to smokers who want to quit. Quitting tobacco leads to fewer smokers, the potential for better health outcomes and reduced health care costs. When healthcare providers treat nicotine addiction with medication and counseling, it can double or even triple their patients’ chances of success. The Lung HelpLine and Tobacco QuitLine is staffed with licensed registered nurses, respiratory therapists and certified tobacco treatment specialists. In addition, there are bilingual Spanish speaking staff along with a live language interpretation service for over 250 languages. Anyone can connect with us by calling 1-800-LUNGUSA 1-800-586-4872 (press 2), or submitting a question or live chat at lung.org/helpline.

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Solomon
(516) 680-8927
[email protected]

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