Mayor Bloomberg Signs Landmark Bills to Further Reduce Smoking in New York City
New laws raise tobacco sale age to 21, ban tobacco discounts
Posted by: Editor | Nov 19, 2013
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made history again today in the fight against tobacco.
Mayor Bloomberg signed into law bills that prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21, establish a minimum price for cigarettes and little cigars, and ban tobacco industry discounting schemes that keep tobacco products affordable and appealing to kids. New York City will be the first major city or state to have a minimum tobacco sale age of 21.
These bold steps will reduce youth tobacco use and save lives. They also continue New York City's global leadership in the fight against tobacco, which is the number one cause of preventable death.
"Each of these bills will save lives, each of these bills is historic and each of these bills will reverberate round the world," said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.
The new laws are based on sound scientific evidence.
We know 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. One of the new laws will 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. These steps will discourage kids from smoking and encourage smokers to quit.
The second law increases the minimum sale age for tobacco products to 21. Nearly all smokers start as kids or young adults, and these age groups are heavily targeted by the tobacco industry. The ages of 18 to 21 are a critical period when many smokers move from experimental smoking to regular, daily use. Increasing the tobacco sale age to 21 will help prevent young people from ever starting to smoke. It will also help keep tobacco out of high school, where younger students often turn to older friends and classmates as sources of cigarettes.
New York City has dramatically 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 tobacco industry never lets up in pushing its deadly and addictive products. Mayor Bloomberg and other New York City leaders rightly recognize that they can't let up in their efforts to reduce smoking and save lives.
Photo courtesy of New York City Mayor’s Office.