ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ New York state's cigarette tax jumped by 55 cents a pack today to a highest-in-the-nation $1.11.

The increase, approved in December, catapults New York from 15th to first among states in taxing cigarettes. The previous leaders were Alaska and Hawaii, both of which impose a $1-a-pack tax.

Advocates predict the increase in New York, the first since 1993, will compel 270,000 adult New Yorkers to quit smoking and 30,000 youngsters not to take up the habit. Smokers also pay a 34-cent-a-pack federal tax.

The New York increase is designed to raise $400 million a year to help fund a new medical insurance program for the working poor.

Gov. George Pataki has proposed a bill to prevent minors from receiving cigarettes ordered over the Internet and increasing penalties for tobacco smugglers. A measure providing for larger warning labels was expected to be introduced by next week in the Legislature.