Sunday, March 29, 2009

Impact of NYC's Cigarette Tax

NYC calls to 311 to quit smoking triples
NYC Cigarette Tax climbs to highest in the nation

In June 2008 the cigarette tax in New York City became the highest in the nation, over taking New Jersey. New York City is allowed to levy their own taxes that are separate from the state. Im June 2008 the tax went from $1.25 a pack up to $2.75 a pack. This is expected to bring in $265 million dollars a year into the budget. As expected many people in the metro area are outraged at the idea of a pack of cigarettes costing about $10. Store owners are afraid they are going to lose business because of the tax increase. NYC smokers are also outraged that they have to pay the highest amount of money in the nation for a pack of cigarettes. The part of the issue that goes unnoticed the most is the amount of people that are quitting because they simply can not afford the amount that they cost. According to the ABC News article it is estimated that 140,000 people will quit smoking and even more astonishing it will keep 243,000 minors from smoking because of the price. Even more astonishing was that within in a month of the tax being raised the calls into 311 to quit smoking tripled. About 2,700 people called in to quit that is up from 850 from the previous year. So the price is forcing people to give up smoking.
This issue brings two different schools of thought to my mind. The first is that I am against smoking in the first especially in public areas where other people are now forced to withstand others cigarette smoke and its health hazards. I applaud the ban of smoking in restaurants and bars and I beleive that was a very big step to help decresase health hazards to the public. This tax also helps decrease the health hazards even more by reducing the amount of people smoking. On the other hand it seems like it is an infringement on peoples rights. It should be someones right to smoke if they please but when tax is rasied so high and people are forced to quit it is an infringment. The tax seems to not only be used for revenue purposes but also so make people quit. This just does not seem right, people should still have a choice.

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