"...I gotta switch to filtered."

The TU blog Capitol Confidential reports that Cigarette taxes are going up. Again. The tax increase brings the total tax to $4.75 and will put the cost of a pack of cigarettes Upstate north of $10. New York City residents will now have to withdraw their children from college to keep smoking.

Myself, I quit smoking August 20th, 2008. There’s a story there, but that’s for another time.

Let’s just say health-wise, I definitely made the right decision. I’m also reminded through simple math that I made the right decision financially as well.

At the time I quit smoking, a tax increase was going into effect that was going to bring the price of cigarettes to nearly $8 a pack. Several increases have occurred since then as well.

At the time I quit, I was smoking anywhere from 1.5 to 2 packs a day.

That means in less than two years, I have saved somewhere in the neighborhood of $8,000 to $9,000.

Just some food for thought. I smoked like a fiend for nearly ten years. If I can quit, so can you.

So put out those cigarettes, New York. I know, it’s easier said than done. But it’s still easier than living on a dime, facing the long-term consequences, and the self-loathing that comes each time you light up.

I used the patch to quit, starting at the strongest level and gradually moving my way down as prescribed. You can get your first installment free (as well as other help and resources) at the New York Smokers’ Quitline website.


18 Responses to A High Price to Pay for Smoking

  1. Angelos says:

    Look, no argument at all, about the health and financial aspects.

    But the politicians just keep showing how damned stupid they are. This will not produce more revenue, as it will just push marginal smokers off the ledge.

  2. D. McGuire says:

    I can’t wait to quit the habit. I already tried to quit like 10 times this year alone.

    Oh well when I finally do manage to become smoke free, Ill probably be able to afford a Lamborghini with all the money I’ll be saving.

    Stupid cigarettes. Picking up smoking was by far the worst decision of my life.

    Anyways, kudos to you Kevin for having the willpower to slay that addiction.

  3. Having an addictive personality, I’m probably lucky that I’m also allergic to smoke.

    This is why I still like the idea of soda taxes. Revenue producing? Maybe. Makes people use less? Oh, hell yes.

  4. Chuck Miller says:

    It’s a good thing the government hasn’t decided to tax scratch-off lottery tickets, or I’d be in big trouble… :)

  5. potrzebie says:

    Political issues aside, I sincerely hope it has the desired effect of reducing the number of smokers, to say nothing of it becoming harder and harder for kids to even start.

    After being a 35 year slave to tobacco, I finally said “enough is enough” (cold turkey) in October 2009. There were definitely subsequent issues to deal with such as the inevitable weight gain as body chemistry changes. So, you might have to make other changes as I did as I started going to the gym a couple of days a week (now every day), working with a personal trainer a few times initially to help me map out goals.

    Do I still want a cigarette? All the time! My Doctor told me the craving may never go away completely as once neural pathways are set and then reinforced year after year by the same daily behavior and chemistry intake, they can never completely be reset. However, after eight months now, the cravings, although still sharp, are less frequent. I can only hope this trend will continue.

    One thing’s for certain: the soon to be $10.00+ per pack is quite the motivator.

    And just in case folks aren’t aware. Emphysema is forever. Once you have it, it doesn’t go away after you quit.

  6. Jerry says:

    I’m really hoping that this increase will be the one that puts me over the edge and helps me quit. I’ve tried in the past but always seem to find a way to get cheap cigs from other states or the internet…in 7 days the internet will no longer be an option due to the federal law banning shipping through the USPS. By the way, I swore I’d quit when they went over $1 a pack!!! Honestly, I with they would put a federal $25 per pack tax on them. The whole country would quit!

  7. Gman says:

    I quit a two-pack-a-day habit on Oct 20, 1990, after 13 years of smoking coolness. (I also ran ever day the last five years I smoked – interesting combo).

    I quit because I wanted to enjoy my runs more; I rationalized that the money I spent on running shoes (1 pair every 3-4 months) was a far better investment, and that I could actually buy a pair a month with what I shelled out in smoking.

    At $10 a pack, Jeez, that’s a pair of running shoes every week! Amazing!

    I think we’re about to see a huge increase in butt smuggling.

  8. Bob says:

    #1, the cig tax is not just — or even primarily — intended to be a revenue raiser or disincentive to smoke. It’s also meant as compensation for the state for the high public health costs of smoking (e.g., Medicaid, Medicare and charity care treatment for smoking-related health problems).

  9. kriskaten says:

    it is now officially cheaper and easier to get pot in this state.
    good job, new york.
    kids are still going to smoke SOMETHING if they want to. at least now they can afford the better high of the two.

  10. DaveToo says:

    So let’s assume the tax has one of the desired effects, and all of New York smokers quit or go outside of NY for their smokes. What prey tell, are they going to tax to make for all of the lost revenues?

    Seriously, I’m glad you were able to give up smoking Kevin, but I’m not ready yet. In the meantime, I’ll go outside NY for ALL of my smoke and alcohol products. Thanks NY for forcing me into bootlegging.

  11. heavyt says:

    It is quite the motivator, to visit Vermont, and while I am there, I will fill my gas tank, and I’ll throw a couple of coolers in the trunk and shop for my groceries too!

    I encourage everyone else to do the same.

  12. NoTobaccoNet says:

    Regardless of your opinion on smoking, the fact is that increasing taxes on Tobacco, is actually a tax directly on Nicotine Addiction. Until now the only options for those addicted to nicotine were either 1. to continue to smoke harmful, additive and chemical laden Tobacco Cigarettes, or 2. To attempt the endless struggle of quitting……. now there is a better alternative that continues to give you the nicotine you need/want, without all of the harmful tars and carcinogens of tobacco and tobacco cigarettes. Tobacco taxes keep increasing everywhere. I smoke, but I don’t pay any taxes because I have found a better way than Tobacco Cigarettes. If you are a smoker, and don’t want to pay higher taxes, while at the same time are concerned for your health, see the important information here:


    Now you can give up your habit and keep it all at the same time…. It could change your life! ;-)

  13. potrzebie says:

    I also sincerely hope that folks are bright enough to do some research on “electronic cigarettes” (see above #11 link) before blindly purchasing. Wikipedia has an interesting write-up. Note especially the ingredients and the FDA paragraph:

    **The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified electronic cigarettes as drug delivery device and subject to market approval prior to sale under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). In January 2010, this classification was overturned by a federal judge. An appeals court overruled this classification on March 2010. Despite this, a number of electronic cigarette companies have emerged online. However, it is unclear what actions the FDA will take to ensure that only compliant products are on the market.**

  14. Yeah, that was my bad, I should’ve been paying more attention when I was approving comments.

    I’d still swear by the patch first and foremost.

  15. Michael Huber, timesunion.com says:

    Hi Kevin. #13, with the embedded links to notobacco.net, smells like spam.

  16. Donna H says:

    I hate, hate, hate “sin” taxes of any ilk. I don’t smoke (did very briefly, very little) and I don’t drink but it pisses me off whenever they target so-called vices. We’re adults who make our own choices and we should not be taxed for taking up activities others don’t like. It’s a punishment tax, pure and simple, and wrong, wrong, wrong.

    I’ve long argued when people didn’t get why I protest so loudly at taxes on stuff I don’t do, what’s next? My sweet tooth? I rest my case. Eff off with this soda tax too. I don’t drink much of that any more but the deposit on cans and bottle is annoying enough but can be grudingly accepted as a necessity given the greenness of it. But taxing it just so the State can raise cash so it can increase spending on entitlements. Maybe it’s time to curb those.

    And we all know the State doesn’t believe it will curtail squat. They’re not even pretending to. State just wants to raise money so it’s taxing people’s addictions. People stop drinking and smoking, it will be the sugar next. (See the soda tax.) They stop drinking soda, it’ll be all sweets or even sugar itself. Maybe potato chips. Anything so that they don’t have to curtail spending instead. You know like the per diems the legislature can rack up while they refuse to pass a budget.

    It’s disgusting and should be stopped. And it should outrage you even if you don’t smoke. And, no, don’t buy for one second it’s about people’s health. It isn’t.

  17. Chris Wessell says:

    Sin taxes are ridiculous. New York’s excise tax on distilled spirits is nearly double the national average. I don’t smoke, but I tell you what, if my Scotch went up even so much as a dollar I’d freaking lose it.

    Meanwhile just yesterday on the highway I passed a E-Class Mercedes Benz with NYS Senate plates on it. As if “public servants” deserve to be shuttled around in luxury as if they were flippin’ monarchs. Can we maybe cut a few expenses before looking at increasing revenue streams? I know, that falls on deaf ears. But compared to the excessive “vices” commonly accepted in state government, our personal “vices” pale in comparison, and, for that matter, relevance.

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