NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed a package of bills aimed at decreasing smoking.
The measures include increasing the minimum price of tobacco products, raising the price of a pack of cigarettes from $10.50 to $13.
Health Department officials said the hike from $10.50 will make the city the most expensive place to buy cigarettes in the country. The $13-a-pack cost includes taxes.
Another bill bans the sale of cigarettes in pharmacies and reduces the number of licensed retailers by half over the next 10 years.
An estimated 900,000 of New York City’s 8.5 million residents currently smoke.
Backers say the changes could reduce the number of smokers in the city by 160,000 over the next three years.
Non-smokers like the plan.
“I like it, I don’t smoke and I don’t like people smoking around me,” one man said.
“It discourages people from buying cigarettes and they’ll stop,” another man said.
But smokers said they’re not sure if this will motivate them to quit.
“It’s a very controversial issue because should we quit on our own or should the government help us quit forcefully by raising taxes,” said one woman who has been a smoker for 30 years.
“I’m going to keep living in Jersey and get them for $8,” one man said.
The law goes into effect on June 1.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)