THE BRONX - Gov. David Paterson has proposed a tax increase on cigarettes and other tobacco products in an effort to help fill the state's $9.2 billion budget gap.

Under the governor's plan, the average cost of a pack of cigarettes, which currently stands at about $10, would go up by $1.60. The tax on chewing tobacco, cigars and pipe tobacco is also expected to rise.

Leonel Rodriquez, a local deli owner, says the tax increase won't stop people from buying cigarettes, but at the same time it will hurt businesses like his.

If approved, the proposed tax hikes are expected to raise $440 million for New York.