NYACS: Higher NYS Cigarette Tax Would be Lose-Lose-Lose Proposition

ALBANY, NY (03/11/2021) (readMedia)-- Contrary to today's claims by public health advocacy groups that it would be a "win-win-win," increasing New York State's cigarette tax rate would be a lose-lose-lose proposition, the New York Association of Convenience Stores warned today.

"Higher tax-included prices would instantly drive more smokers to New York's well-established channels of cigarette tax avoidance," said NYACS President Jim Calvin, noting that already more than half the cigarettes consumed in New York are purchased tax-free from bootleggers, street dealers, and tribal smoke shops without any New York State tax being collected (see https://taxfoundation.org/cigarette-taxes-cigarette-smuggling-2020/).

"Therefore, regrettably, the result is a lose-lose-lose, because the state would actually lose tax revenue, tax-collecting convenience stores would lose business, and the goal of more smokers quitting would be defeated," he said.

"Every smoker who decided to join the cigarette tax evasion bandwagon to save money would not only deprive the state of the extra $1 a pack in excise tax, but the existing $4.35 in excise tax plus $1 in sales tax, digging a deeper hole in the state budget," Calvin said.

Headquartered in Albany, the New York Association of Convenience Stores is a trade organization representing 8,000 neighborhood mini-marts statewide, many of which are single-store, family-owned enterprises.