Written by, Danielle Hosein, Program Coordinator
New York City made history once again by taking further steps to protect the health of New Yorkers through comprehensive tobacco control measures. On August 28th, Mayor De Blasio signed into law a sweeping package of tobacco legislation, which will save lives aiming for 160,000 fewer smokers over the next three years.
The new laws will make tobacco less accessible by (1) preventing tobacco retail proliferation and placing a cap on the number of tobacco retail outlets in each community district; (2) end the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies; and (3) raise the minimum price of tobacco products to one of the highest in the country. They will also help residents breathe air free from harmful tobacco pollution and identify housing with smoke-free protections.
Public Health Solutions’ NYC Smoke-Free team attended the bill signing ceremony at Kings County Hospital, joining NYC Mayor, Bill De Blasio, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, American Lung Association of Northeast, American Heart Association, and a host of other tobacco control advocates and experts. Deidre Sully, Director of NYC Smoke-Free, opened the program with a personal story about the impact tobacco has had on her life. “We know that widespread availability and exposure to young children normalizes tobacco, and my family’s experience is just one example of the dangerous consequences. Nothing like this should ever be normal.”
New York City joins San Francisco in the passing of this ground-breaking legislation. In 2014, San Francisco banned the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies, and in 2015 established a tobacco retailer cap.
As we approach the 15th Anniversary of the implementation of the NYC Smoke-Free Air Act of 2002, NYC Smoke-Free will continue working to end the tobacco epidemic by educating New Yorkers, on the harms of tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. Disparities in tobacco use still exist, especially for our youth and those living in vulnerable communities, which is why this bold move by NYC is so important. It is lifesaving.