SARANAC LAKE — The sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York State ended May 18, as did the sale of all tobacco products in pharmacies.
The new laws were passed as part of the state’s 2021 budget. New York becomes the second state in the nation to restrict the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.
“These historic measures will help many New Yorkers live free from nicotine addiction and improve public health,” said Ann Morgan, executive director of the North Country Healthy Heart Network. “We know that flavored e-cigarettes attract kids and teens, leading to nicotine addiction and related health problems. Additionally, selling tobacco products in pharmacies has long sent a contradictory message to consumers — pharmacies carry medicine and products often meant to heal individuals who are unhealthy due to the use of tobacco products.”
Research from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Tobacco Control shows that the flavors in e-cigarettes attract kids and the nicotine addicts them. Nearly 40 percent of high school seniors in New York State use e-cigarettes — also referred to as vaping — and 27 percent of all high schoolers vape.
“This new law ending the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York State will protect kids from a lifetime of nicotine addiction,” Morgan added.
Additionally, a report from the Office of the Surgeon General overwhelmingly shows that exposure to tobacco use and tobacco marketing increases the likelihood that a young person will start smoking.
“Ending the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies will result in a significant decrease in the number of stores in our communities that carry these products,” Morgan said. “This should be an effective way of both supporting people trying to quit and reducing youth exposure to tobacco marketing.”
For help quitting smoking or vaping, including free nicotine replacement therapy for eligible residents, individuals can contact a health care provider, call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS or visit www.nysmokefree.com. Effective medications and counseling are covered by Medicaid and most insurance programs.
Tobacco Free New York State and Reality Check student groups around the state have worked to educate local communities about the need to protect children from the billions of dollars of tobacco marketing in places where kids can see it. The statewide “Seen Enough Tobacco” initiative is focused on putting an end to youth smoking and other tobacco use. The average age of a new smoker in New York is 13 years old, and 90 percent of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18. Tobacco Free New York State, including the Reality Check student youth groups, is part of the NYS Tobacco Control Program.
The NYS Tobacco Control Program includes a network of statewide grantees who work on Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities, which includes Community Engagement and Reality Check, the Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York, the NYS Smokers’ Quitline and Surveillance and Research. Their efforts are leading the way toward a tobacco-free society. For more information, visit TobaccoFreeNYS.org, TobaccoFreeNY.org and NYSmokeFree.Com.