Discounts on the sale of all tobacco products, such as coupons and multi-pack price promotions, are prohibited in New York State beginning July 1. The law was passed as part of the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget. Research shows that higher tobacco prices are linked to lower smoking rates.

“When people order vape products online, they are easily able to lie about their age just by typing a random date of birth. Stopping the shipping of vape products to private residences prevents huge issues like e-cigarette companies distributing their products to underage consumers,” said Amélie Rohlin, BRiDGES Reality Check community leader.

This new law limits the tobacco industry’s ability to circumvent New York State’s high taxes on tobacco products, which are proven to reduce smoking prevalence, especially among youth.1 It is a significant victory in combating Big Tobacco’s long history of discounts and other pricing schemes that target youth, minority communities, low-income communities and people trying to quit.2 The average age that teens first start smoking in New York State is 13 years old,3 and 90% of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18.

A number of tobacco control measures passed as part of the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget, including a new law that stops the shipping and/or delivery of e-cigarettes and vape products to private residences beginning July 1, providing another important protection for youth. Several of the new laws took effect on May 18, 2020, including the end of all tobacco product sales in pharmacies and the end of flavored e-cigarette sales statewide. Nearly 40% of high school seniors in New York State use e-cigarettes, also referred to as “vaping,” and 27% of all high school youth vape.

Tobacco companies continue to aggressively market their products in stores across the state, using colorful walls of tobacco products and marketing materials that are highly appealing to teens. There is overwhelming evidence that the more young people see tobacco, the more likely they are to start smoking.6 More cigarettes are sold in convenience stores than in any other type of store, and 70% of adolescents shop in convenience stores at least once a week — where they are more likely to be exposed to pro-smoking messages.

“Convenience stores sell more tobacco products than any other type of store. Seventy percent of youth shop in convenience stores, therefore prohibiting tobacco product displays and advertising in exterior windows and storefronts within 1,500 feet of a school will make them less likely to see Big Tobacco’s deceitful marketing,” said Ella Camp, BRiDGES Reality Check community leader.

Support available for New Yorkers who want to quit

For help quitting smoking or vaping, including free nicotine replacement therapy for eligible residents, individuals can contact a health care provider, and 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 tirelessly 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. Tobacco-Free New York State, including the Reality Check student youth groups, is part of the NYS Tobacco Control Program.

About BRiDGES Tobacco Prevention Program

BRiDGES Tobacco Prevention Reality Check Program is advancing tobacco-free communities in Madison, Oneida and Herkimer Counties. Our objectives are to reduce the negative impact of tobacco product marketing and price promotions on youth and adults at the point of sale; to increase the number of local laws and voluntary policies that prohibit tobacco use in outdoor areas; to decrease secondhand smoke exposure in multi-unit housing, with an emphasis on policies that protect the health of low-income residents; and to promote policies that reduce tobacco use imagery in youth-rated movies, on the Internet and on social media. Funded by the NYS Bureau of Tobacco Control.

About 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.

Lockwood Law

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