NYC’s Sensible Tobacco Enforcement
What is in the law?
- Price Promotion Ban: Prohibits retailers from redeeming coupons or honoring other price discounts for tobacco products
- Floor Price: Sets the minimum price for cigarettes and little cigars at $10.50 per pack
- OTP Minimum Pack Size: Requires that cheap cigars and cigarillos be sold in packages of at least four, and little cigars be sold in packages of at least 20.
- Cigars that cost more than $3 each are exempt from the packaging rule.
- Illicit Trade: Reduce the evasion of cigarette excise taxes and the selling of tobacco products without a license by increasing penalties
- Penalties: Gives authority to the Department of Finance to seal premises of tobacco sellers that have had repeated violations of the law
What does the research say?
- According to the Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report, in 2010 the tobacco industry spent $6,490,832 on price discounts at the point of sale– more money than they spend on any other form of tobacco promotion.
- There is a proven association between tobacco promotions at the point of sale and smoking initiation . Greater promotions also transition youth from experimentation to being an establish smoker.
- Almost 70% of NYC tobacco retailers offer a price promotion at the time of purchase (NYC Health Department’s Vital Signs Report)
- Price-sensitive groups (youth, low-income, ethnic minorities, women) are more likely to be effected by price discounts  and in NYC low and middle income neighborhoods have more interior and exterior price promotions. (NYC Health Department’s Vital Signs Report)
- In Providence, RI a similar ban on industry coupons and price discounting was upheld by the U.S. District Court earlier this year
- A flat minimum price law cuts out loopholes that can be exploited by the industry to keep prices low. Cigarette price increases greatly reduce the consequences of smoking by decreasing demand.
- The sale of cigars has more than doubled since 2000, primarily due to small, cheap cigars that target youth. Young adults (18-24) and youth are much more likely to be cigar smokers than older adults. (The Rise of Cigars and Cigar-Smoking Harms)
- A recent report from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, ‘Not Your Grandfather’s Cigar’, highlights the problems that arise from this explosion of cheap, flavored products and support the NYC provision to require a minimum pack size
- Mayor Bloomberg’s Press Release
- Full text of the bill
- Progress of the legislation
- NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Vital Signs Report: Promotion of Tobacco Product in NYC
- Fact Sheets from the NYC Coalition
- AP Article
- Blog: ‘Save our Stores‘ by Bronx store owner Steve Nallen
- Blog: ‘Cigarette Discounts Prey on the Poor‘ by Dr. Kurt Ribisl
- Read about the other bills: 1) Minimum Legal Age to Purchase and 2) Tobacco Product Display Restriction
- Review the case study “Reducing Cheap Tobacco and Youth Access: NYC” from the Center for Public Health Systems Science at Washington University in St. Louis
- Watch the NYC Council Health Committee Hearing or read the transcript
- Read the Committee Report and all testimony (part 1 and part 2) from the hearing