If you’re looking to buy a last-minute smoke in New York City, don’t even think about purchasing one in a drug store. On January 1 it became illegal for any pharmacy within the city’s five boroughs to sell tobacco products. The ban also extends to supermarkets and big-box stores with a pharmacy section.
While most of the cigars previously sold in the city’s drug stores were mass-market products made by machine, it wasn’t uncommon to find handmade smokes behind the counter as well. A few years ago, General Cigar Co. began selling premium cigar brands such as Partagas, Punch and Macanudo in sealed, single-count fresh packs specifically intended for sale in drug stores, gas stations or any retail environment without a humidor.
According to a press release from the New York City Health Department, the new ban will affect about 500 pharmacies.
While the law only went into effect yesterday, the legislation was signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio in August 2017 as part of a broader initiative to end tobacco use in New York City. Other anti-smoking measures include raising the minimum prices for all tobacco products (including cigars), capping the city’s number of tobacco retailers and prohibiting smoking in residential buildings.