Mayor Bloomberg Proposes Strong New Measures to Win the Fight Against Tobacco

Statement of Matthew L. Myers President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Mar. 18 2013

WASHINGTON, DC — For the past 10 years, New York City has led the nation and the world in fighting tobacco use, especially among children. With the introduction of legislation to stop tobacco industry discounting and attractive displays of tobacco packages, New York is once again providing strong leadership by cracking down on tobacco industry practices that entice kids and discourage smokers from quitting. The tobacco industry never lets up in pushing its deadly and addictive products, so New York City can’t let up in its efforts to protect kids, help smokers quit and save lives.

The legislation proposed today would stop tobacco industry discounting schemes that keep tobacco affordable and appealing to kids; reduce the illegal evasion of cigarette taxes; and prohibit massive store displays of tobacco products that tell kids tobacco use is normal and acceptable, while tempting smokers trying to quit into buying more cigarettes. These steps build on and enhance the effective actions New York City has already taken to reduce tobacco use. Mayor Bloomberg, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley and other City leaders know that winning the fight against tobacco requires sustained commitment and leadership.

Each part of the new legislation is based on strong scientific evidence and has been proven successful. The science is clear that increasing the price of tobacco products is the most effective way to reduce tobacco use, especially among kids. New York City has driven down smoking with the highest combined state-city cigarette tax of $5.85 per pack. Tobacco companies have fought back by spending billions to discount tobacco prices and introducing cheap, sweet small cigars. The proposed legislation would curtail these harmful practices by banning the redemption of coupons and other discounting strategies for tobacco products; creating a minimum price for cigarettes and little cigars; and requiring that cheap cigars be sold in packs of at least four.

There is also strong evidence to support the proposed ban on retail displays of tobacco products (except in stores devoted to selling tobacco). Studies have found that two-thirds of U.S. kids visit convenience stores at least once a week, and the frequency of exposure to store tobacco displays can influence whether kids smoke. Among adult smokers, there is evidence that tobacco product displays lead to impulse purchases and undermine efforts to quit. This evidence has led to the adoption of tobacco retail display bans in a growing number of countries, including Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

New York City has significantly reduced both youth and adult smoking by implementing higher tobacco taxes, a comprehensive smoke-free air law and hard-hitting tobacco prevention and cessation campaigns. The new legislation builds on the City's strong and innovative efforts to fight tobacco use, which is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world.

 

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