The City of New York doesn't really want people to stop smoking. If they did, they would have raised the cigarette tax 20,000% in 2002. No, let's make that increase 200,000%.
If NYC's multi-billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomburg had raised the tax from 8 cents a pack to $160 per pack of cancer sticks, instead of the measly almost 2000% increase to $1.50, I'm guessing that might have driven at least 95% of smokers to go very cold turkey.
But NO, they couldn't do that! If nobody smoked, the BIG HAND of government would have to dream and scheme even more about how to fleece the people of their hard earned wages.
Of course, New York State went along with the city in 2002, raising their cig tax, and together the tax per pack went to $3.00, the highest in the nation. Why not, all of New York's and NYC's other taxes were already among the highest in the land of the free, they just wanted to be consistent.