By Katherine Waters
Sun Staff Intern
CHENANGO COUNTY– “A week of cigarettes or a bag of groceries?” asked a Tobacco Free Chenango advertisement this week. This is the major question that most smokers will have to ask themselves due to the increase in cigarette tax on Tuesday.
The Cigarette Excise tax was increased from $1.50 to $2.75, making New York’s cigarette tax the highest in the country. The reason for such an increase in tax is “to attempt to reduce the prevalence of smoking,” said James Mutabiilwa of Tobacco Free Chenango, a program of Chenango Health Network.
This year the New York Tobacco Control Program began the One Million Fewer Smokers by 2010 initiative. The tax increase, which is part of the new initiative, is expected to result in 140,000 fewer smokers.