Last updated on August 31st, 2017 at 02:18 pm
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a series of bills Monday aimed at reducing the number of smokers in the city by 160,000 by 2020.
These seven bills affect all operators selling tobacco and go into effect June 1, 2018.
The legislation raises the minimum prices for all tobacco products, including cigarettes, and imposes a new 10 percent local tax on tobacco products other than cigarettes.
The legislation caps and reduces through attrition the number of tobacco retailers citywide; creates a retail license for e-cigarettes and caps the number of e-cigarette retailers; increases the fee for a cigarette retail dealer license; and bans the sale of tobacco products at pharmacies.
In addition, one of the bills requires all residential buildings to create a smoking policy and disclose it to both current and prospective tenants and prohibits smoking and the use of e-cigarettes in common areas in multiple dwellings with fewer than 10 units.
The mayor said the goal in approving the bills is to help decrease the smoking prevalence to a historically low rate of 12 percent by 2020. While smoking rates in New York City declined from 21.5 percent in 2002 to 14.3 percent in 2015, the city still has more than 900,000 smokers.
This package of legislation was introduced by five New York City Council members—Corey Johnson, Brad Lander, Fernando Cabrera, Ritchie Torres and James Vacca—and was supported by Mayor de Blasio.
The minimum price of cigarettes and little cigars rises to $13 a pack from $10.50 and sets a first-ever price floor and tax for other tobacco products, such as cigars, smokeless tobacco, snus, loose tobacco and tobacco-containing shisha. The bill also imposes a tax of 10 percent of the minimum price on these other tobacco products for the first time, which is expected to generate revenue of $1 million annually dedicated for public housing.
Another bill will reduce the number of stores that can sell tobacco products by capping the tobacco retail dealer licenses in each community district at 50 percent of the current number of licenses. No new tobacco retail dealer licenses will be issued in a community district until its total decreases through attrition below the cap. No current tobacco retail dealers will lose their license as a result of this proposal. New York City has about 8,300 licensed cigarette retailers citywide, averaging nearly 30 dealers per square mile. The bill also updates the New York City retail license for selling cigarettes to encompass all types of tobacco.
Another bill creates a retail license for e-cigarettes. This bill will cap the number of e-cigarette retailers at half the current number by community district, with the reduction in number coming through attrition. Existing sellers will be able to continue to renew their license as long as they meet all applicable licensure requirements.
Another bill raises the biennial fee for the new tobacco retail dealer license that includes all types of tobacco sales to $200, from the $110 currently charged for a cigarette retail dealer license. There currently are 8,305 of these licenses in New York City.