The sale of flavored e-cigarettes ends in New York State on May 18, as does the sale of all tobacco products in pharmacies. These are huge steps forward in helping New Yorkers live free from nicotine addiction.
The new laws were passed as part of the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget. New York becomes the second state in the nation to restrict the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.
“We have been working locally to end tobacco sales in pharmacies for nearly 20 years. Now we can celebrate this step forward for all of New York. All of our local independent pharmacies have voluntarily not sold tobacco products for many years, while most of the big chains continue to sell the number one cause of preventable death – tobacco”, stated Ken Dahlgren, community outreach coordinator for New York State and Roswell Park’s Tobacco-Free CCA program.
Research shows that the flavors in e-cigarettes attract kids and the nicotine addicts them. 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.[ii] This new law ending the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York State will protect kids from a lifetime of nicotine addiction.
Selling tobacco products in pharmacies has long sent a contradictory message to consumers by offering tobacco alongside medicine or products for illnesses either caused by or made worse by smoking. It also reduces the number of stores that sell tobacco products in every community, an effective way of reducing youth exposure to tobacco marketing. There is overwhelming evidence that the more young people see tobacco, the more likely they are to start smoking.
“While the vaping industry denies that flavors attract kids, the facts tell a different story. The overwhelming majority of young people first start their nicotine addiction by using a flavored product such as flavored e-juice or menthol flavored combustible cigarettes,” continued Dahlgren. “This legislation is a big step forward in our battle to reduce youth nicotine addiction”
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, 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.
Tobacco Free New York State and Reality Check student groups, as part of the New York State Tobacco Control Program have worked tirelessly to educate local communities about the need to protect children from tobacco marketing in places where kids can see it. The statewide “Seen Enough Tobacco” initiative is focused on putting an end to youth smoking and other tobacco use. The average age of a new smoker in New York is 13 years old, and 90% of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18.