New York City Makes History Again

Speaker Christine C. Quinn announces that the NYC Council votes to make NYC the first major city in the nation with a 21 age tobacco sales law

Speaker Christine C. Quinn announces that the NYC Council votes to make NYC the first major city in the nation with a 21 age tobacco sales law

Today, New York City made history once again.

The New York City Council voted to pass two proposed bills that, once signed into law by Mayor Bloomberg, will work to significantly reduce the toll tobacco has taken on our City.  The new laws will:

  1. Raise the minimum sale age to 21, making New York City the first large city in the country to have a minimum smoking age above 19.
  2. Stop tobacco industry discounting that makes tobacco affordable and appealing to kids.
  3. NYC Council Member James Gennaro, sponsor of "Tobacco 21" being interviewed by the press

    NYC Council Member James Gennaro, sponsor of “Tobacco 21”, being interviewed by the press

    Create a minimum price for a pack of cigarettes or cigars ($10.50 per 20-pack) that will ensure that the public health benefits of high-cost tobacco will remain in place.

  4. Set minimum package sizes for certain cigars to keep cheap tobacco out of the hands of our kids.
  5. Enhance tobacco tax enforcement efforts to reduce tax evasion by retailers and create a level playing field for the honest retailers who play by the rules.

We’re thrilled the Mayor and New York City Council have taken these innovative steps to reduce youth smoking rates.  We believe these policies will help to prevent kids from smoking.  They will also help save lives and potentially millions of dollars in health care costs.

New York City Council votes on "Tobacco 21" and "STE"

New York City Council votes on “Tobacco 21” and “Sensible Tobacco Enforcement”

Today, New York City stands even taller in our fight against Big Tobacco.  Spearheaded by Mayor Bloomberg, New York City’s smoke-free policies have made our City a global leader and trendsetter in tobacco control.  With the passage of the the NYC Smoke-Free Air Act 10 years ago, New Yorkers started to breathe clean, smoke-free air in the workplace, regardless of whether they worked in a high-rise office or neighborhood restaurant or bar.  That landmark legislation was followed by policies restricting smoking in hospital entrances and protecting New Yorkers from secondhand smoke in NYC parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas.

The fight against Big Tobacco is one we cannot afford to lose.  Today’s vote by the New York City Council shows that our leaders understand what’s at stake.


21 on 21

number-21On April 22, 2013, the New York City Council proposed legislation (“Tobacco 21”) that would raise the minimum age requirement to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 across the City.

As the bill comes up before the City Council, here are 21 comments on the bill from elected officials, health organizations, community organizations, parents, tobacco control experts and youth.

1. Christine C. Quinn, Speaker, New York City Council 

“Too many adult smokers begin this deadly habit before age 21.  By delaying our city’s children and young adults access to lethal tobacco products, we’re decreasing the likelihood they ever start smoking, and thus, creating a healthier city.”

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Cigarette Discounts Prey on the Poor

Dr. Kurt Ribisl

Dr. Kurt Ribisl

Dr. Kurt Ribisl conducts research in the area of tobacco control and specializes in youth access to tobacco products.  We asked him what he thought about the proposed Sensible Tobacco Enforcement Act that is being considered by the NY City Council.  Here’s what he said:

“Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to regulate the sales and marketing of tobacco products at New York City retailers will decrease the appeal and use of tobacco products, particularly among youth.

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Save Our Stores

Steve Nallen's store in the Bronx

Steve Nallen’s store in the Bronx

The NY City Council is currently considering proposed legislation that would prevent the use of coupons and other discounts and create a price floor for a pack of cigarettes.  The measure would also increase penalties to retailers who sell loose or unstamped tobacco products.  What do retailers think of this proposal?  We asked Steve Nallen who runs a family-owned deli in the Bronx.  Here’s what Steve thinks:

“My family has run a deli in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx for almost 35 years.  Business is tough in in today’s economy, but my family has always played by the rules.

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New York State Supreme Court Overturns Smoke-Free Policy in NYS Parks and Playgrounds

We were disappointed to learn that on October 8, a New York State Supreme Court judge struck down regulations from the state Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation (OPRHP) that restricted tobacco use in state parks and playgrounds.  In his ruling, the judge said that he was not expressing an opinion on the wisdom of the regulation, but that OPRHP just did not have the authority to make the regulation.

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What is the FDA Doing About Menthol Cigarettes?



LGBT Youth Speaks Out

Kevin Avila, LGBT Smoke-Free Project Intern at The Center

Kevin Avila, LGBT Smoke-Free Project Intern at The Center

According to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in 2011, smoking rates among lesbian and gay youth were over three times higher when compared with heterosexual youth.

The Coalition works with organizations, including the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Community Center (The Center) in NYC, to reduce LGBT smoking rates. A group of LGBT youth are working with The Center‘s LGBT Smoke-Free Project to raise awareness about the disproportionate impact of tobacco among their peers and in their community.

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