Wednesday, February 18, 2009
CIGARETTES NOW $11.25 IN NEW YORK CITY
WABC'S Curtis Sliwa use to refer to them as "degenerate smokers." Fine, I'm one of them, despite kicking the habit for nine months. Yet, I was still blown away by the price they charged at a little grocery store at 65th and West End Avenue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The price leaped from $10 to $11.25, when most stores are charging in the 8-9 dollar range.
But, in the coming months, that price will skyrocket. Both Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Paterson have proposed increases in the tobacco tax, so smokers will be hit with a double whammy at both the state and local level. Earlier, it was estimated the tax hikes would increase the price for a pack to over $10, but if some stores are already charging $11.25, then $15 is not out of the question.
But, these rip-off retailers know full well that smokers are addicted. That's right, if the clerk charged $20 for a pack, smokers would still buy the cancer sticks. At that rate, smokers may shop around, but when they need their fix, they'll drop two ten spots to get their nicotine. The people who run that deli at 65th street jack up the prices on everything from milk to cookies, so it's no surprise that the price of cigarettes just went up.
Still, price is no matter for us "degenerate smokers." If we can't afford them and honestly most of us can't, then we shop around. In desperation, we go on line and buy from Indian reservations and overseas dealers. We head into the "hood" and look for some sketchy character peddling smokes. Tax us all you want, you mean, bad government, but in the end, us smokers will show you, we'll continue to plop down the cash to continue our nasty habit. Go ahead, try raising the price to $50.00 a pack, we're determined folks. So what, if I can take a family of five to a movie for that price, we love our cigarettes, don't we.