Last night the state legislature added $1.60 in taxes to each pack of cigarettes sold in the state as part of its latest emergency budget bill, pushing total statewide per-pack taxes to $4.35, easily the highest in the country. The average pack of smokes in New York will now cost around $9.20, and in the city, which has its own taxes, almost $11. The bill also authorized the collection of taxes on Native American reservations on purchases by visitors starting in September although that didn't turn out well the last time they tried it and on chewing tobacco and cigars. The levies come amid an ongoing budget crisis, and will provide $440 million to health-care programs that otherwise might not have received funding. It's a good thing so many nicotine addicts are physically incapable of not smoking, no matter how much their habit is taxed!
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