New York City Still Has the Country's Most Expensive Cigarettes


Yesterday California voters rejected Proposition 86, which would have raised the state's cigarette tax from 87 cents to $3.47 a pack, with the money earmarked for health care programs. The 300 percent hike would have made California's cigarette tax the highest in the nation, a distinction currently held by New York City, which slaps its own $1.50-a-pack tax on top of a $1.50 state tax. Although only 15 percent of Californians smoke cigarettes, the vote was 52 percent to 48 percent. Perhaps the results signal that there are limits to the persecution of smokers even in California. At any rate, it's good news whenever voters turn down the opportunity to pay for worthy-sounding services with other people's money.

NEXT: Mr. Ed Goes to Washington

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  1. How much did the New Jersey Convience Store Association spend to promote the measure?

  2. Nice to know some people in Californicate have persecution limits.

  3. Damn,

    I was really counting on that measure so I could expand my cigarette smugling business out to the Golden State. As it is, I have to settle for loading up the car with cheap southern sigs to sell to my desparate smoker friends in New York once or twice a year. A yearly trip to CA would have been nice.

  4. My mom became a lobbyist for some sort of cancer group just in time to explain to me that this tax was necessary to pay for smokers hospital bills. The claim was that smokers get dispraportionately sick due to their smoking, and then are unable to pay hospitals, which have to treat them anyway.

    Under this reasoning, shouldn’t 86 have provided free health care to smokers?

    When I asked her about whether most of the money was going to pay for nonsmokers, as in the anti-86 commercials, her basic argument was that hospitals deserve money because they’re hospitals.

    I’m a little surprised, but glad most voting Californians weren’t taken in by this garbage.

  5. A similar tax failed in Missouri.

  6. Here in AZ a cigarette tax increase was passed to increase funding for pre-schools.


  7. Correct me if I’m wrong but:
    A good deal of the money from prop. 86 would have gone to bail out Rob Reiner’s First Five California (providing child care and children’s health benefits) which was funded mainly through a previous tobacco tax and which so mismanaged their funds that they are now under investigation and Reiner had to step down.

    Perhaps it’s not that there’s a limit to persecuting smokers, but rather a disinclination to throw good money after bad.

    That and illegal aliens of course.

  8. Good news that California and Missouri rejected the tax hikes…

    Unfortunately, smoking bans passed in Arizona, Ohio and Nevada.

    So here’s a question for everyone:

    What exactly does it mean that voters will approve smoking bans but not tax increases on tobacco?

    (No really, I can’t figure it out.)

  9. It would seem that it means they’re from different states.

  10. What exactly does it mean that voters will approve smoking bans but not tax increases on tobacco?

    I wouldn’t know – in my state we only know more ban and more tax increases.

  11. Unfortunately, only current tax hikes were voted down. The $40billion in bonds passed, ensuring that my kids will be paying off a bunch of bullshit for the rest of their lives

  12. We also pay some of the highest rent, and are the only American city to think angular haircuts are actually cool.

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