A coalition of dozens of health and community organizations in New York backed a push for a $1-per-pack increase in the state's cigarette tax.
The groups this month released a letter to top state lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled state Senate and Assembly calling for the tax increase as a public health benefit, as well as a way of raising revenue.
"Despite the well-documented benefits of tobacco tax increases, New York has not increased most tobacco taxes in over a decade," the groups wrote in the letter. "Tobacco tax increases are a win-win-win; they improve public health, reduce healthcare costs, and generate revenue. As such, we respectfully request a cigarette tax increase of at least $1.00 per pack and the establishment of tax parity with other tobacco products be included in your one house budget proposal and the state’s final budget."
The letter was released by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and has the backing of a variety of organizations, including the New York State PTA, the Boys & Girls Club of the Capital Region, and multiple health advocacy groups.
It's estimated a tax increase would lead to an additional $38.8 million in revenue for the state. Typically, that money is directed toward anti-tobacco and cessation programs.
"Tobacco tax increases produce reliable sources of new revenue that must be used to fund our state’s public health programs, most notably the state’s tobacco control program which helps smokers quit and counters Big Tobacco messaging to keep kids from starting," the letter states.