No More Discounts for Tobacco Products

Discounts on the sale of all tobacco products, such as coupons and multi-pack price promotions, are prohibited in New York State beginning July 1. The law was passed as part of the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget. Research shows that higher tobacco prices are linked to lower smoking rates.1

This new law limits the tobacco industry’s ability to circumvent New York State’s high taxes on tobacco products, which are proven to reduce smoking prevalence, especially among youth.1 It is a significant victory in combating Big Tobacco’s long history of discounts and other pricing schemes that target youth, minority communities, low-income communities and people trying to quit.2 The average age that teens first start smoking in New York State is 13 years old,3  and 90% of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18.4

“By making tobacco products more expensive hopefully youth never start and current smokers are encouraged to quit,” states Jonathan Chaffee, Reality Check Coordinator, Tobacco Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany.

A number of tobacco control measures passed as part of the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget, including a new law that stops the shipping and/or delivery of e-cigarettes and vape products to private residences beginning July 1, providing another important protection for youth. Several of the new laws took effect on May 18, 2020, including the end of all tobacco product sales in pharmacies and the end of flavored e-cigarette sales statewide. 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. 5

Tobacco companies continue to aggressively market their products in stores across the state, using colorful walls of tobacco products and marketing materials that are highly appealing to teens. There is overwhelming evidence that the more young people see tobacco, the more likely they are to start smoking.6 More cigarettes are sold in convenience stores than in any other type of store, and 70% of adolescents shop in convenience stores at least once a week — where they are more likely to be exposed to pro-smoking messages.7

 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 Effective medications and counseling are covered by Medicaid and most insurance programs.

Tobacco Free New York State and Reality Check student groups around the state have worked tirelessly to educate local communities about the need to protect children from the billions of dollars of 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. Tobacco Free New York State, including the Reality Check student youth groups, is part of the NYS Tobacco Control Program.

  1. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Raising Cigarette Taxes Reduces Smoking, Especially Among Kids, June 2019, accessed June 2020.
  2. Public Health and Tobacco Policy Center. Tobacco Retail Licensing: Promoting Health Through Local Sales Regulation, 2017, rev. Jan. and May 2020, accessed June 8, 2020.
  3. Information about Tobacco Use, Smoking and Secondhand Smoke,
  4. A Report of the Surgeon General “The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress” 2014, p. 12, 696, 708:
  5. NYS Dept. of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control, StatShot Vol. 12, No. 4/Oct 2019, Trends in Electronic Cigarette Use Among High School Youth NYS-YTS 2014-2018.
  6. Public Health and Tobacco Policy Center. Tobacco Retail Licensing: Promoting Health Through Local Sales Regulation, 2017, rev. Jan. and May 2020, accessed June 8, 2020.
  7. New York State Department of Health. Health Data NY. Youth Tobacco Survey: Beginning 2000. Updated May 18, 2017, accessed June 8, 2020.

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