New York is continuing their war on tobacco by raising the minimum price of a pack of cigarettes to $13. Mayor Bill de Blasio considers it another move to combat the unhealthy habit of smoking, but neglects to take into account the unintended consequences of such a move.
New Yorkers are traveling outside the city, to New Jersey or Virginia to buy their smokes and then traveling back home to smoke them. Other people are selling single cigarettes at a profit, or rolling and selling their own. Price controls on tobacco have only created a black market.
The city brags that the number of people smoking in their city has decreased over the last decade, but the number has decreased everywhere. There is no evidence that a price hike caused people to stop using a highly addictive drug. Also, considering the new unregulated black markets the price hike created, there’s no way to accurately measure how many people are smoking.