New York City hikes price of pack of cigarettes to $13, highest in US

A close-up view of cigarettes on June 10, 2015 in Bristol, England. Health campaigners have asked for a levy on the tobacco industry to help fund anti-smoking measures. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

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.