New York Health Department Testing Interest In Potential Tobacco Ban
The New York state Health Department recently commissioned a survey meant to gauge support for a potential complete tobacco ban in the Empire State, according to a story in the New York Post. The “New York Local Opinion Leaders Survey” was sent out to “community leaders” statewide, which includes “county legislators and county directors of public health,” according to a memo obtained by the New York Post sent from Jennifer Lee, director of the Health Department’s Bureau of Tobacco Control. While the survey isn’t necessarily a precursor of proposed legislation, it certainly bears watching, particularly from a state that already has some of the strictest tobacco legislation in the country.
The survey tested the waters of an outright ban on tobacco products, asking how people would feel about a policy that would end the sale of all tobacco products (including cigars) within 10 years, or even ban the sale of tobacco products for those born after a certain date, much like legislation proposed in California and passed in New Zealand. The survey also probed feelings toward other tobacco-related measures, such as limiting the number of retailers who can sell tobacco products.
The survey comes off the heels of a notable blow last month for New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration that saw the New York State Legislature reject her proposal to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products, which was originally proposed in February as part of the fiscal year budget.
On the other hand, it's not all worrisome news for cigar smokers in the Empire State. Bill number A02961 currently in the state legislature would allow existing tobacco retailers to apply for a license to sell liquor at retail for consumption on their premises. The bill was introduced in 2021, passed in the Senate last year and currently remains in the state Assembly. While it has been tied up for some time, the Premium Cigar Association and the New York Tobacconist Association are working to get the bill a committee hearing, and are hopeful for its future prospects. You can support PCA’s grassroots campaign for the bill here.
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