Beginning July 1, several new tobacco control laws were implemented in New York state. Each of these measures will protect people — children and youth especially — from the damaging effects of tobacco.
The first of these four laws prohibits multiple-pack price discounts and the use of coupons to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. This is important because research shows that higher tobacco prices lead to lower smoking rates. New York’s historically higher tax rate on tobacco products has left the door open for retailers and tobacco companies to use other tactics, like special deals, to keep people smoking.
Additionally, as evidenced by a report by the Public Health and Tobacco Policy Center, this law combats the tobacco industry’s practice of using discounts and pricing strategies that disproportionately target youth, minority communities, low-income communities and people trying to quit.
Another new law halts the shipping and delivery of e-cigarettes and vape products to private residences, effectively ending online sales to individuals. This is an encouraging step forward as it will now be more difficult to illegally sell these products to youth.
A third law prohibits exterior displays of tobacco products and advertising on storefronts within 1,500 feet of a school, or 500 feet in New York City. It is a fact that tobacco marketing leads to higher smoking rates among our youth.
Finally, the state has increased penalties for stores that sell products to people under the age of 21, another step in reducing tobacco use in our communities.
These new laws are great steps forward but there is always more work to do. The North Country Healthy Heart Network is committed to joining with its funders and tobacco cessation partners to keep our communities healthy and safe.