Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids strongly supports Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposals, included in her state budget today, to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products in New York and increase the state’s cigarette tax from $4.35 to $5.35 per pack. Gov. Hochul deserves enormous credit for proposing these bold policies to protect kids from tobacco addiction, advance health equity and save countless lives. These policies will continue New York’s leadership in fighting tobacco use – the nation’s number one cause of preventable death – and improve health and save lives in the state for generations to come. We urge the New York Legislature to approve these policies during this year’s session.
Gov. Hochul’s plan would expand the state’s current prohibition on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes by ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products. This is a critically important proposal to stop the tobacco industry’s predatory targeting of kids, Black Americans and other groups with flavored products, including menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. Flavored products are one of the tobacco industry’s most pernicious tactics for targeting and addicting kids, and research shows that 81% of kids who have ever used a tobacco product started with a flavored product. Gov. Hochul’s plan will also help end the industry’s decades-long targeting of Black communities with menthol cigarettes, which has had a devastating toll on Black health and lives and is a major cause of health disparities. The evidence shows that menthol cigarettes are more addictive, easier for kids to start smoking and harder for smokers to quit.
It is critically important to note that the Governor’s proposed language would authorize enforcement only against licensed retailers – not individuals. It explicitly allows individual purchase, use or possession of flavored products, no matter where they were purchased or how they were acquired. The tobacco industry and other opponents who claim otherwise are exploiting legitimate concerns about over-policing in order to preserve the industry’s ability to profit at the expense of Black and Brown lives.
Increasing the state cigarette tax by $1 per pack will also have an enormous impact. The evidence is clear that raising the price of tobacco products is one of the most effective ways to reduce tobacco use, especially among kids.
Lastly, the proposed language would also fix several loopholes and enforcement issues from the 2020 law that prohibited the sale of flavored e-cigarettes that allow those predatory products to continue to be widely available to New York’s kids.
While New York has made great progress in reducing tobacco use, 28,200 New York adults still die each year as a result of smoking and 280,000 New York kids now under 18 will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. All of these proposals are essential to protecting kids and from the death and disease caused by tobacco use. Gov. Hochul’s proposals represent enormous steps to create a tobacco-free generation and will have positive impacts on the health of all New Yorkers for generations to come.
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids