Cigarette taxes in New York are the highest in the country, currently at $4.35 per pack. NYS smoking rates (16.1%) are lower among all income groups than nationally (22.2%). However, fewer low-income, NY smokers stopped smoking compared with their higher income counterparts even when price impacted them more. A recent study analyzed the effect of increased taxes on individuals with varying levels of income: less than $30,000; $30,000 – $59,000; $60,000 or more. The research finds that even though low income smokers in New York State spent a larger amount of their household income in 2010-2011 (23.6%) on cigarettes than they did in 2003-2004 (11.6%) there has not been a significant decrease in smoking among this population during this same time period (you can read the full study here).
If you are a smoker, the economic benefits of quitting can be quite high. Consider, at $9 a pack if you smoke 11 cigarettes a day (about average in NY) you will save $150 a month just in cigarette purchases, not to mention elevated healthcare costs and other costs that are associated with tobacco use. If you’re interested in quitting you can visit the NYS Smokers Quitline at 1-888-NY-QUITS or talk to your family physician. If you’d like more information or guidance you can always call the North Country Tobacco Cessation Center at 518-897-5980 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org