UPDATE JUNE 2014: Federal court upholds NYC Coupon Ban

October 30, 2013- NYC Council passes historic tobacco control legislation.

NYC tobacco retailer
Photo Credit: Kat Stein

On March 18, 2013 Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans for new tobacco legislation in New York City.  This proposal marks the most comprehensive set of point of sale (POS) regulations in the nation.

The bills were introduced to the City Council on March 20, 2013 by Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Chair of the Health Committee, at the request of the Mayor.

On April 22, a third piece of legislation was proposed by Speaker Quinn and Health Commissioner Farley to raise the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products in NYC from 18 to 21. Since then a similar measure to raise the age of purchase to 21 has been introduced in New Jersey as well.

These three bills were discussed at a public hearing on May 2 before the NYC Council Committee on Health. You can watch the hearing and read the submitted testimony here.

After that hearing, the bills were revised and a decision was made to drop the display ban bill from the package, moving forward with STE and Tobacco 21. These two bills were unanimously approved by the Committee on Health on October 29, 2013.  On October 30, 2013 the bills were passed, 35 to 10, by the full NYC Council.

In January 2014, the tobacco industry filed suit against NYC seeking to  block parts of the Sensible Tobacco Enforcement Act claiming that the ordinance violated tobacco companies’ First Amendment rights. In June 2014, federal court Judge Thomas Griesa upheld the NYC coupon ban asserting that, “Barring coupons doesn’t violate cigarette makers’ and sellers’ free-speech rights to communicate with customers.”

Learn about the legislation and supporting research:

  1. Sensible Tobacco Enforcement
  2. Minimum Legal Age to Purchase
  3. and the dropped Tobacco Product Display Restriction


NYC Council Health Committee Hearing:

  • Watch the NYC Council Committee on Health Hearing on the three proposed bills or read the transcript
  • Read the Committee Report and all testimony (part 1 and part 2) from the hearing
  • Read testimony submitted by Dr. Kurt Ribisl and Ashley Leighton, MPH


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