NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - New York City officials announced an initiative Wednesday in an effort to reduce the number of smokers by making the prices in the city the highest in the country and passing several other restrictions.
"Big tobacco is public enemy No. 1 when it comes to public health," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The Democrat announced his support Wednesday for a series of legislative proposals designed to drastically cut tobacco use in the city by the year 2020. De Blasio says his goal is to reduce the number of smokers in the city by 160,000.
Officials say about 12,000 people in the city die a year from smoking-related issues.
The initiative is a package of five bills. Here is the breakdown:
1. Increasing the minimum price of cigarette packs to $13. Currently, the minimum is $10.50.
2. Creating a retail license for e-cigarettes and capping the number of retailers.
3. Making the sale of tobacco all pharmacies illegal.
4. Cutting the number of tobacco licenses in half over time. There are around 9,000 retailers in the city that can sell cigarettes.
5. Requiring all residential buildings to create a smoking policy, which would be disclosed to current and future tenants.