Cigarettes May Cost More

By Kim DiVestea

Cigarettes May Cost More

July 22, 2010 Updated Jan 18, 2006 at 12:52 AM EDT

It's business as usual for now at Smoker's Choice in Endwell.

Customers come in to buy their cigarettes and the register keeps ringing.

But if New York increases the cigarette tax...

"For one, it's going to hurt our business," said one employee.

Governor Pataki's dollar increase in the state's cigarette tax would bring the price of a pack of cigarettes to about $5.50.

The move would give New York the highest cigarette tax in the country at $2.50.

"Even though it's only a dollar a pack, it's $10 a carton which means that for a carton of Marlboros it would bring it over $50 a carton and most people aren't going to be willing to spend $50 a carton when they can drive across the border and spend $35, so I really think it is going to be a big difference," said Amy Bowen of Smoker's Choice.

It's a big difference, but still not enough to get one smoker to break the habit.

"I think it's crazy. I think the government is just trying to overtake everything that we have like gas prices, cigarette prices. It's just outrageous," said James McRorie of Endicott.

But not everyone thinks it's outrageous.

Sharon Fischer with Tobacco Free Broome and Tioga says Pataki's proposal is right on track.

"Those of us in tobacco control are happy with that proposed increase in excise tax mainly because we know from research studies that it will decrease the number of youth that begin smoking and also encourage people to stop smoking," said Sharon Fischer of Tobacco Free Broome and Tioga.

And money raised from the tax could fund programs to help people kick the habit.

On the other hand, stores like Smokers Choice will try to help smokers with special promotions.

The New York budget is due on April 1, but Pataki wants to move the date to May 1.

Last year was the first time in 20 years that the legislature passed a budget by that deadline.

As it stands right now, the budget is $48 billion more than the one Pataki presented when he first took office back in 1995.

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