Tobacco-Free Kids Strongly Supports… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
sign up

Tobacco-Free Kids Strongly Supports Gov. Hochul’s Call to End Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products and Increase the Cigarette Tax in New York

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
January 10, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids strongly supports Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposals, made in her State of the State Address today, to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products in New York and increase the state’s cigarette tax from $4.35 to $5.35 per pack. Gov. Hochul deserves enormous credit for proposing these bold policies to protect kids from tobacco addiction, advance health equity and save countless lives. These policies will continue New York’s leadership in fighting tobacco use – the nation’s number one cause of preventable death – and improve health and save lives in the state for generations to come. We urge the New York Legislature to approve these policies during this year’s session. 

Gov. Hochul’s plan includes introducing legislation to expand the state’s current prohibition on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes by ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products. This is a critically important proposal to stop the tobacco industry’s predatory targeting of kids, Black Americans and other groups with flavored products, including menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. Flavored products are one of the tobacco industry’s most pernicious tactics for targeting and addicting kids, and research shows that 81% of kids who have ever used a tobacco product started with a flavored product. Gov. Hochul’s plan will also help end the industry’s decades-long targeting of Black communities with menthol cigarettes, which has had a devastating toll on Black health and lives and is a major cause of health disparities. The evidence shows that menthol cigarettes are more addictive, easier for kids to start smoking and harder for smokers to quit.

Increasing the state cigarette tax by $1 per pack will also have an enormous impact. The evidence is clear that raising the price of tobacco products is one of the most effective ways to reduce tobacco use, especially among kids.

While New York has made enormous progress in reducing tobacco use, 28,200 New York adults still die each year as a result of smoking and 280,000 New York kids now under 18 will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. Gov. Hochul’s proposals represent enormous steps to create a tobacco-free generation and end the death and disease caused by tobacco use. 

In addition to supporting these proposals, we urge the New York City Council to approve Intro. 577, legislation introduced by Council Member Rita Joseph to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. Council Speaker Adrienne Adams has previously voiced strong support for these actions and should expeditiously move the bill forward for a vote and passage. Doing so would save lives in New York City and set a tremendous example for the state.