New York City Bans Flavored Tobacco

New York's fans of flavored cigars had better stock up on them soon, because it's official: Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a bill into law today prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products within New York City limits. The signing of bill 433-A, which was proposed on October 13 and put on Bloomberg's desk two weeks ago, was ceremoniously webcasted late this morning and will render the sale of flavored cigars and tobacco products illegal in New York City in 120 days.

This measure is stricter than the recent FDA ban, which banned flavored cigarettes (including cloves, but not menthol), as it extends to flavored cigars, chewing tobacco and pipe tobacco.

"Introductory number 433-A would ban the sale of tobacco products with characterizing flavors, except for menthol, mint, or wintergreen, in any location other than a tobacco bar," said Bloomberg in the official press release. "This bill improves upon the recent federal ban on flavored cigarettes and makes New York City the first city to protect children from all flavored products on the market."

J. Glynn Loope, executive director of the Cigar Rights of America, had this to say: "Thousands of New York City youth use SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program) and Mayor Bloomberg just signed legislation eliminating a significant source of revenue for that program. This will also bring economic harm to merchants throughout the city, while eliminating product choices for adults. The focus should be strategies that stop sales to those not of legal age to purchase tobacco products. Once again, they keep missing the target."

For an industry response and more details on the ban, see the next issue of Cigar Insider.

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