Tobacco coupons, multi-pack discounts ending July 1 in New York

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FILE – This Aug. 28, 2017 file photo shows cigarettes displayed on a store shelf in New York. With a new law enacted in December 2019, anyone under 21 can no longer legally buy cigarettes, cigars or any other tobacco products in the U.S. It also applies to electronic cigarettes and vaping products that heat a liquid containing nicotine. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(WETM) – Discounts on the sale of all tobacco products, such as coupons and multi-pack price promotions, will no longer be allowed in New York beginning July 1.

The change comes as part of New York state’s fiscal year 2021 budget as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “Comprehensive Tobacco Control Policy.”

The Enacted Budget prohibits the sale or distribution of e-cigarettes or vapor products that have a characterizing flavor unless approved as part of an FDA pre-market approval; prohibits the sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in all pharmacies; restricts the delivery of e-liquid products only to NYS-licensed vapor retailers; restricts the public display of tobacco and vapor products near schools; requires manufacturers of vapor products to disclose to the DOH Commissioner and the public, information regarding the ingredients, by-products, or contaminants in vapor products, whether intentional or unintentionally added; bans certain carrier oils if they are determined to be harmful; bans coupons and manufacturer discounts and displays in shops; and increases penalties for illegally selling tobacco products to minors.

“This law combats the tobacco industry’s long history of discounts and other pricing schemes that target youth, minority communities, low-income communities and people trying to quit,” said Sarah Robbins, Program Director of the Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition.

In March the sale tobacco products in pharmacies and a ban on flavored e-cigarette sales went into effect in New York as part of the state’s fiscal year budget.

The average age that teens first start smoking in New York State is 13 years old and 90% of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18, according to the Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition.

The STTAC adds that “nearly 40% of high school seniors in New York State use e-cigarettes, also referred to as “vaping,” and 27% of all high school youth vape.”

Support available for New Yorkers who want to quit

For help quitting smoking or vaping, including free nicotine replacement therapy for eligible residents, individuals can contact a health care provider, and call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS or visit www.nysmokefree.com. Effective medications and counseling are covered by Medicaid and most insurance programs.

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