Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, has signed a bill that will force Smokers to shell out more for a packet of Cigarettes. The minimum price for a pack will be pegged at $13 instead of the $10.50 at present with effect from June 1, 2018, and the number of outlets that sell these items will also be cut down.

The Mayor intends to pressurize smokers to quit the habit. According to officials of the Health Department, the increase in price will make New York the most expensive place in the US to buy cigarettes.

Strategy of the Mayor

Daily Mail UK reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio while signing the bill in Brooklyn, said that the new laws would provide a boost to the campaign to reduce the number of smokers and also save lives.

Apart from a hike in prices, there will be a drastic reduction in the number of retailers who sell cigarettes and tobacco related products, and it will help the cause.

Among other restrictions proposed are to ban the sale of all tobacco products in pharmacies and retailers of e-cigarette must be licensed. Residential buildings will also have to play a major role in the campaign – they will have to define smoking policies and some residential buildings in New York City will have to ban smoking in hallways.

New York City and smoking

The previous mayor Michael Bloomberg had set the trend of waging war on smoking. New York City feels that hiking prices. Possible options were to impose higher taxes on cigarettes or set minimum prices which could act a deterrent to smokers.

They would either give up the habit or not start at all. Statistics indicate that there has been a gradual drop in smoking rates in the city and the opinion of health officials, the proposed restrictions would help to bring it down further.

Critics argue that price increase could push smokers into supporting illegal trade in cigarettes.

The addicts could locate alternate sources that supply untaxed, unregulated items procured from low-cost states like Virginia and North Carolina. The fact remains that cigarette smoking is an unhealthy practice and when an effort is made to wean smokers away from the habit, it should be encouraged. The ultimate objective is to have a healthy society.

Such restrictions could have a direct impact on the tobacco lobby but, in the overall interests of society, they have to accept these measures are a necessary evil. There is already a system in place to have ‘health warnings’ on the packets because smoking kills and smokers are known to have become victims of cancer. Hence, the new measures are nothing but an extension of that logic.