Eric Garner

As Bill de Blasio Raises Cigarette Prices Again, Remember Eric Garner's Haunting Last Words

"It stops today."

|

deBlasio
Paul Martinka / Splash News/Newscom

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio hopes to use the power of government legislation and taxation to raise the floor price of a pack of cigarettes in the city from $10.50 to $13. This would make NYC the most expensive place to buy cigarettes in the country—a milestone de Blasio is apparently proud of.

"How supremely addictive this chemical is and what it does to people—we have to treat it aggressively," de Blasio said at a conference.

Of course, making cigarettes more expensive does not aggressively treat anyone's addiction—it just makes the addiction costlier to sustain. As Scott Shackford explained, such efforts drive the cigarette market underground: NYC, unsurprisingly, has the most lucrative cigarette black market in the country.

There are other costs associated with outlawing something that many people want and need. Eric Garner died at the hands of police officers who were harassing him for illegally selling loose cigarettes.

In fact, before anyone cheers the mayor's attempts to outlaw vice, they should read Garner's last words juxtaposed with de Blasio's declaration, via this haunting Facebook post.

Hat tip: Adam Bates / Facebook

NEXT: An Epidemic of Bad Epidemiology

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “How supremely addictive this chemical is and what it does to people. . .”

    He’s talking about taxation, and he’s jonesin’.

  2. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    1. I think Coulter said that muggers are better than politicians: they don’t expect you to thank them for stealing your money. Pols very much do.

  3. A modern-day Torquemada – he’ll save your soul no matter how many times he has to jam a red-hot poker up your ass, and then he’ll weep bitter tears over how much pain you’ve caused him by forcing him to jam that red-hot poker up your ass. And the sadistic psychopath is entirely sincere, the fucker really does think he bears the burden of doing God’s work.

  4. maybe if only the rich can afford to smoke, it’ll become a status symbol…

  5. You’re a moron if you’re still smoking cigarettes, and a bigger one if you buy them in the city. Having said that, real he-men smokers imbibe quality cigars, not dumb cigarettes, and buy them online, telling the NY taxman to go fuck himself in the process. I’m having one today while listening to America’s Team, the NY Yankees, who sadly remind me of Fox News when they interrupt the game to play religious songs. And speaking of Fox News, fuck that smarmy lickspittle Tucker Carlson in the ass with the usual rusty farm implement meme. I have spoken.

    1. real he-men smokers imbibe quality cigars

      Imbibe? How many cups of water do you put in the blender with the cigar?

      1. And clearly not limited to real he-men, since DanO is ‘imbibing’ too.

    2. I have spoken.

      And said nothing. Again.

    3. You’re a Phillies fan, fuckface Dave Weigel.

    4. Real men don’t use the term “real men” based on some small aspect of his life or experience in an attempt to float their own boat. Humbleness is a sure sign of confidence and being comfortable in your own skin.

      1. Well said.

    5. Because mouth cancer is more manly than lung cancer?

      I’ll choose my preferred cancer like a man without your banal quips, thank you very much. But thanks again for showing what a great Prog you are. Only you know best.

  6. It is a war on schizophrenics. Most of them smoke like chimneys.

    1. Self medication.

  7. Still trying to link police brutality to cigaret tax? You might as well blame eminent domain abuse for injuries that occur in what was built at the affected site.

    1. You might as well blame eminent domain abuse for injuries that occur in what was built at the affected site. when police evict the landowners from their property.

      Forgive me, but this seems to be the more direct analogy. I’m curious as to why your head went to construction accidents rather than over-brutal enforcement of protectionist laws, and should like to hear your reasoning.

      1. I wasn’t even thinking of construction accidents, but of the even more distantly related accidents that occur during the use of the property after construction is complete! As to why my head didn’t go in the direction yours did, can I blame a hangover? I did drink a lot on Sat., even before sumbel.

        You’re right, it’s a matter of brutal enforcement of laws we already dislike. Although in Garner’s case, it was because they already had it in for him for some reason; he wasn’t even selling cigarets there that day, he’d just attracted att’n by breaking up a fight.

    2. Still trying to link police brutality to cigaret tax?
      When the king passes new taxes and new laws, the kings’ men are charged with enforcing them. It’s the one area where I feel a bit sorry for cops – they are forced to treat growing sections of the public as criminals by those who can manage our lives better than we can. And often, it’s through laws in which no one else’s property and body are threatened.

      1. The best cop in America.
        Former DPD Chief David Brown seems at first blush – and second and third blushes – to be a remarkably admirable man, as well as astute as fuck. I’ll try to dig up an article that states it more clearly, but he has said essentially what you just did: police brutality is down to sloppy leadership, but the root cause is expecting police to be the answer to every pothole, argument, inconvenience and mystery. The expectations are unrealistic – unrealistic expectations are rarely coupled with adequate tools – having too much to do and not enough means to accomplish it causes less than optimal outcomes.

        The police should not be in the business of ensuring Phillip Morris has a monopoly on the cigarette market. That has no bearing on local civil order. It was made their job, unnaturally, when politicians saw the money to be gained by creating market distortions and squeezing the distorted market for political profit. That the police aren’t very good at accomplishing this is not the main problem; they shouldn’t have to attempt it in the first place.

        Ah. Found it.

      2. No one is forced to be a cop.

      3. King? Please move your terminology to the 21st century. Demagogue, tyrants, dictator-in-chief all work much better than antiquated “king” talk.

        1. How do you become king then? I know it isn’t some farcical aquatic ceremony.

          1. Take those king’s head, and with it his Quickening?

    3. Yep that is so weak that it’s laughable. The same could have happened if the guy was hawking knock off watches or shoes. The police simply killed that guy (I doubt of it was intentional though) with unnecessary roughness when a ticket and court date would have been plenty. They just wanted to prove how tough they were by taking the big guy down.

      1. Because cops have a pathological need to exert control and have the last word.

  8. Funny that a guy making a living giving people lung cancer and emphysema complained about not being able to breathe.

    1. Garner didn’t “give” anyone anything. He offered a legal product whose risks are known at a lower price to those who wanted to purchase it.

      1. I think loosies go for a dollar a piece so they are actually more expensive than the taxed ones.

        1. Thanks to “Kaiser” Bill Wilhelm, poor New Yorkers can only afford one or two loosies a day now.

        2. OF COURSE loosies will cost more than buying a carton of cigs.
          that’s how Garner made his profit,buy in “bulk”,and sell in smaller units at a higher price,to people who want convenience.
          Garner’s problem was that he decided to resist arrest,and just wasn’t healthy enough for the exertion.
          He -knew- what was in store for him because he had been arrested before for the same crime,but he still resisted….because he wasn’t thinking,he went irrational. a Stupid way to die.
          People don’t realize that once the officer says “turn around and put your hands behind your back”,there’s no negotiating,no use arguing. You go along,or then it gets rough. You do your arguing in court,not with the officer.
          Like Tom Selleck’s Jesse Stone cop character says in his movies; “I’m not in the right or wrong business,I’m in the legal or illegal business.”

          As for the statement about raising cig prices not reducing smoking,I believe that is incorrect. ISTR reading that every time cig prices went up,fewer people smoke. People are realizing they don’t want to be around smokers,don’t want the secondhand smoke,the stench,the messes smokers always leave behind.
          Besides the negative health aspects.

          1. He finally had enough, so they showed him who is boss, and what big men they are. Cops love to do that.

  9. The drug war rages on.

    Progressives love it.

    Conservatives love it.

    It’s for the children. Fill the prisons with children. It’s the only way.

    1. I know very few progressives or libertarians who are for the war on drugs. You need to move out of the 1980s

      1. A lot of progressive still adhere to some form of “prohibitionism”, whether it’s fast food, alcohol or cigarettes

          1. Especially firearms. Something, something about 9mm being a gateway drug.

      2. Which is weird, seeing as how you are commenting on an article about a Progressive escalating the War on Drugs here in 2017.

        1. But cigs are the wrong drugs. Want to know which are the right drugs? Just ask them which they should tax.

      3. The left still overwhelmingly supports war on drugs other than marijuana.

  10. Wasn’t there some kind of dust up over repressive taxes?
    It was awhile back, but somewhere in that general area of the country.
    A bunch of guys with torches and pitchforks?
    Oh, yeah, and a firearm keeping and bearing militia.
    Is it time for those who ignore history to get it repeated in their face?

  11. It’s been shown over and over that smokers on average die a lot quicker than non-smokers and this makes them much less of a load on the medical system when they can no longer afford to pay medical bills as they tend to die quicker and younger. In essence smokers cost less to society than non smokers who live til 90, but are essentially dying slowly over the last 10 years of their life with chronic health problems and taking disproportionate amounts of medical care supply away.

    1. The vast majority of medical expenses are at the end of life. Shifting that end of life care earlier doesn’t save any money. If you die at 50 after 5 years fighting lung cancer, you probably cost the system just as much as someone who died at 70 after 5 years fighting colon cancer.

      1. Lung cancer, once it is discovered, usually kills within less than a year. There are a few “lucky” ones who survive, but for most, it is a rather quick, and therefore less costly, way to die than say Alzheimer’s. That said, only about 10% of smokers ever get lung cancer and a similar number get emphysema, which is very costly to treat, but usually strikes life-long smokers in their 70s and 80s, who have other health problems too. Most smokers die of heart attacks and strokes like everyone else, but they happen earlier.

  12. So fuckwad cops choke and kill Garner, and no one is held accountable.
    DeBlasio raises costs of cigarettes.
    Therefore his death is on DeBlasio?

    This is particularly dumb for reason.com Republicans.

    Raising the cost of cigarettes changes NOTHING on the illegality of selling loose cigarettes or holding corrupt cops accountable.

    1. Other than creating the situation to begin with, you’re totally right. Damn the consequences of our decisions, just ignore them. Amirite?

    2. Raising the cost of cigarettes changes NOTHING on the illegality of selling loose cigarettes or holding corrupt cops accountable.

      No, except that there is now a greater incentive for bootleggers and the sale of loosies, as well as a greater incentive for cops to crack down, since the city stands to lose more tax revenue. There will likely be more Eric Garners as a result of this.

  13. When NYC smokers are already paying $10.50 for a pack, raising it to $13 is not going to do much in my opinion. If I’m looking for a $10 bottle of wine, $13 doesn’t seem like too much more to spend.

  14. Isn’t DiBlasio raising the minimum wage to $15/hr or more and offering up more free shit? That should cover the extra cost of a pack of smokes, for those NYers who are still employed…

  15. DiBlasio is the self-appointed patrron of tobacco commerce on the web- Why should any Knickerbocker fork over the the price of two cartons of hizzoner’s Tammmany Tomahawks , when on the web $260 buy you a year’s supply- ten pounds of pure tobacco, the thousands of papers , filters , and rolling gear needed to contain it, and put six grand in your wallet to boot?

  16. I don’t get why cities like NYC jacks up the taxes on a product they hope to drive out of existence and then use those taxes as a budget item.

    If their taxes work as they wish, then they will have a hole to fill in as the taxes on cigs stop due to lack of sales.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.