Smokers to cough up more for cigarettes

With the federal excise tax on cigarettes going into effect Wednesday, some smokers in the Bronx say they are ready to re-evaluate their lifestyles.

Cigarettes in New York state are the most expensive in the nation. Only 40 percent of the price of a pack goes to the tobacco company, while the other 60 percent goes to state and federal governments. The latest tax hike increases the price of a pack by nearly 62 cents to $1.01.

According to the New York City Department of Health, higher taxes on cigarettes will prompt 20,000 smokers to kick the expensive habit and save nearly $3,000 a year.

Mary Montalvo says the mounting cigarette taxes have prompted her to cut back to five cigarettes a day, down from a whole pack a day six months ago.

However, not all smokers are ready to stomp out their habits.

"It's a habit, and I'll break it, but until then I'll pay the $10," says Julia Lopez.

Smokers who wish to quit can obtain free nicotine patches by calling 311 or 1-866-NY-QUITS.

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