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Still Smoking

Sam Antikacia, 32, held a burning cigarette between his fingers. He waited, hoping that a tourist would step out of Tavern on the Green, the landmark New York City restaurant in Central Park, and ask for a $40 ride in his horse carriage.

Antikacia’s smoking habit is the only thing that keeps him sane under today’s economic downturn. It is the same thing, however, that is putting more stress on his already shrinking budget.

“It costs me $300 bucks a month,” said Antikacia, who has been smoking a pack a day for 11 years. “It’s kind of an addiction, and I try to quit. Even if prices go up, I won’t be able to quit because it comes from inside of me.”

Despite rises in cigarette taxes and financial turmoil, New Yorkers continue to smoke. Facing the nation’s highest tobacco tax at $4.25 per pack, the city’s smokers say they sacrifice hearty meals and rely on lower prices outside of Manhattan in order to continue indulging in their vice.

Click on the image below to read and watch more about New York’s smokers.


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