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Upcoming $1 cigarette tax hike projected to save 15,300 New Yorkers’ lives

Written By Editor on 8/31/23 | 8/31/23

Higher costs deter youth from smoking and help smokers quit


(ONEONTA, N.Y.) August 31, 2023- 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% in high-income countries.[i]

Increasing the cost of cigarettes is one of the most effective ways to promote smoking cessation and prevent youth initiation. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACSCAN) 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.[ii]

"Young people generally don't have a lot of disposable income.  By raising the price of cigarettes, it decreases the chances that they will purchase a product that will lead to a lifetime of addiction," said Jennifer Hill, Community Engagement Coordinator, Tobacco-Free Communities | Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie.

Nearly 9 out of 10 adults who smoke cigarettes daily, first tried smoking by age 18.  Evidence shows that increasing the cost of a pack of cigarettes leads to people quitting cigarettes among groups that are known to be price-sensitive, including youth, and low-income populations.  Currently, according to the New York Smoker’s Quitline online savings calculator, a New York State resident will spend a minimum of $4,000 a year to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day.

Surveys have shown that about 70% of smokers want to quit and can be motivated by price increases.  The impact can also be greater in rural counties of New York State as the smoking rate is known to be higher in rural vs. urban areas.

"Currently, the state average adult smoking rate is 12%. However, the adult smoking rates remain high in Delaware (16.1%), Otsego (18.3%) and Schoharie (20.3%) counties," added Hill.

Support Available for People Who Want to Quit

“With the expected increase of people attempting to quit smoking in response to the cigarette tax increase, having affordable and accessible cessation resources for our community is incredibly important,” said Mindy Robinson, Liaison for Bassett Research Institute and URMC’s Wilmot Cancer Institute.

Locally, The Quit Center at Wilmot Cancer Institute is a free resource for Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie Oneida, Herkimer, Madison and Chenango County residents looking to quit. They offer a free six-month smoking cessation program for ages 21 and older, which includes counseling with a tobacco treatment specialist, delivery of a 12 week supply of nicotine replacement therapy such as patches, gum or lozenges and text message support. Call 585-504-9461 to get started.

Another resource is the New York State Smokers’ Quitlinewhich is a free and confidential service for all New York State residents who wish to overcome use of commercial tobacco and/or vape products. Participants can receive individualized coaching and assistance with quit planning from highly trained tobacco treatment specialists, text and online chat support, and a free starter supply delivery of nicotine replacement therapy medications such as patches, gum and/or lozenges for those 18 and older. Residents of all ages may contact the Quitline for support and educational materials. Visit anytime or text QUITNOW to 333888 for more information, or call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) seven days a week, beginning at 9 a.m.

About Tobacco-Free Communities | Delaware, Otsego & Schoharie (TFC-DOS): TFC-DOS is a NYS Bureau of Tobacco Control grant-funded program held by St. Peter’s Health Partners. TFC-DOS works to increase support for New York state’s tobacco-free norm through youth action and community engagement. Efforts are evidence-based, policy-driven, and cost-effective approaches that decrease youth tobacco use, motivate adult smokers to quit, and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke. Visit for more information.

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