Mayor Bill de Blasio's proposal to raise the cost of a pack of cigarettes from $10.50 to $13, just like past increases, will not discourage consumption.
The growth of illegal street corner and bodega single-cigarette sales known as "loosies" will rise in proportion to periodic government increases in taxes.
Likewise, many consumers will just travel past the city line to stores selling cigarettes in neighboring Connecticut, New Jersey and Nassau and Westchester counties to patronize stores offering lower prices.
And the underground economy will make an even greater fortune selling untaxed cigarettes. Why sell hard drugs, when you can sell cigarettes with virtually no penalties?
Both the city and state will see an increase in the loss of millions in uncollected tax revenues.
Despite the best efforts of government to limit consumption via excessive taxes and smoking restrictions, just like alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, both are doomed to failure.