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NYC hikes price of pack of cigarettes to $13, highest in US

Image Courtesy: MGN Online

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed legislation raising the minimum price for a pack of cigarettes to $13 in New York City.

Health Department officials say the hike from $10.50 will make the city the most expensive place to buy cigarettes in the country. The $13-a-pack cost includes taxes.

The law goes into effect on June 1.

The price increase is part of a package of anti-smoking bills signed Monday.

Another bill gradually reduces by half the number of licenses issued to retailers to sell tobacco products. Philadelphia and San Francisco have similar licensing restrictions.

An estimated 900,000 of New York City's 8.5 million residents currently smoke.

Opponents of the price increase say it has pushed many smokers into buying untaxed, unregulated cigarettes on the black market.

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