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:
- 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.
- Stop tobacco industry discounting that makes tobacco affordable and appealing to kids.
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.
- Set minimum package sizes for certain cigars to keep cheap tobacco out of the hands of our kids.
- 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.
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.