New York State ends the use of tobacco coupons, multi-pack discounts to protect kids

American Lung Association and the Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island applaud new state laws taking effect July 1

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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.

The Surgeon General has called raising prices on cigarettes “one of the most effective tobacco control interventions” because increasing price is proven to reduce smoking, especially among kids. By prohibiting discounts, this new law limits the tobacco industry’s ability to evade New York State’s high taxes on tobacco products, which earned the state a B grade in the American Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control” Report 2020. The elimination of tobacco discounts is a significant victory in combating Big Tobacco’s long history of predatory marketing and pricing schemes that target youth, minority communities, low-income communities and people trying to quit.

Tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable death and disease in the United States,” said Michael Seilback, the American Lung Association’s national assistant vice president for state public policy. “In New York State we can attribute 480,320 deaths to smoking annually – and the economic costs of smoking to New York State is $10.3 billion. We applaud Governor Cuomo and the state legislature for doing away with dangerous discounts that put money in the pockets of tobacco companies, while costing New Yorkers their lives.”

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. Earlier this year on May 18, the state ended the sale of all tobacco products in pharmacies as well as the sale of flavored e-cigarettes statewide. The average age that teens first start smoking in New York State is 13 years old, and 90% of adult smokers first tried smoking by age 18.  According to the New York State Youth Tobacco Survey, nearly 40% of high school seniors in New York State use e-cigarettes, and 27% of all high school youth vape.

“Over the past few years, I’ve listened to many parents across communities express their ongoing serious concerns with youth illegally purchasing e-cigarettes and vape products over the internet. Stopping the shipping and/or delivery of these tobacco products to private residences along with ending the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and prohibiting coupons and multi-pack price promotions is a huge step in addressing the epidemic of youth nicotine addiction,” said Paulette Orlando, community engagement specialist for Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island. 

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.