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