The New York Association of Convenience Stores is launching a significant digital ad buy meant to halt Gov. Kathy Hochul's proposal to increase the per-pack tax on cigarettes as well as ban flavored products like menthol cigarettes.
Hochul wants to increase the per-pack tax on cigarettes by $1, growing it from $4.35 to $5.35.
The ad campaign comes as Hochul and state lawmakers are entering the final four weeks of the budget negotiations; Hochul has included the tobacco proposals in her $227 billion budget proposal that is expected to pass by April 1.
"These regressive policies will increase crime and strengthen the illegal market, rob state and local governments of much-needed tax revenue and put legitimate retailers out of business," said New York Association of Convenience Stores President Kent Sopris. "What it won't do is stop smoking and the more New Yorkers hear the facts the more they realize that prohibition doesn't work."
Anti-tobacco organizations have urged lawmakers to approve the measures, arguing they will help significantly reduce smoking-linked illnesses like cancer in New York while also funding anti-smoking initiatives in the state.
A Siena College poll released Monday found majorities of voters support both proposals. The tax increase is backed 62% to 33%; the flavored tobacco ban is supported 57% to 35%.