Cigarette and Tobacco Product Sales (new Chapter 13)
Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments
Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule
Tobacco is a leading cause of preventable premature death in the United States and the City of New York. Smoking-related illnesses cost New Yorkers billions of dollars annually in health care costs and lost productivity. There is strong evidence that people who begin smoking at an early age are more likely to develop a severe addiction to nicotine than those who start at a later age. Several studies also show that the availability of low-priced cigarettes and tobacco products increases demand for cigarettes and tobacco products and contributes to continued use, particularly among youth. Local Law 94 of 2013 (“Tobacco 21”) and Local Law 97 of 2013 (“Sensible Tobacco Enforcement”) aim to reduce tobacco use and protect public health by raising the legal minimum sales age for cigarettes, tobacco products, and electronic cigarettes, and prohibiting the redemption of price reduction instruments in the purchase of cigarettes and tobacco products.
On November 19, 2013, the Mayor signed into law Tobacco 21 and Sensible Tobacco Enforcement, amending sections 17-176, 17-702, 17-704, and 17-706, and adding sections 17-176.1 (Prohibition on the Sale of Discounted Cigarettes and Tobacco Products), 17-703.1 (Sign Required), 17-703.2 (Requirements for Retail Dealers Concerning Cigarette Tax), and 17-709.1 (Rules) to Chapter 7 of Title 17 of the Administrative Code. These amendments and additions to Chapter 7 modify the definitions of cigarette and tobacco product, and impose new licensing, sales, and signage requirements on cigarette and tobacco product retailers.
Local Law 94 raises the minimum sales age for cigarettes, tobacco products, and electronic cigarettes from eighteen to twenty-one, and requires retailers to post signage that informs consumers and establishments of this sales restriction. Local Law 97 prohibits the redemption of price reduction instruments (such as coupons) for cigarette or tobacco products and the sale of cigarettes or tobacco products below the listed price. In addition, Local Law 97 establishes a price floor (lowest price possible) for cigarettes and little cigars, imposes a packaging requirement on cigars priced at $3 or less, and requires cigarette retailers to post a sign stating that all cigarette packages must bear valid New York State and New York City tax stamps.
These rules facilitate compliance with Chapter 7 by explaining the retail dealer requirements in Local Law 97 and Local Law 94. Anyone required to comply with the requirements for cigarette and tobacco product sales should read these rules together with Chapter 7 of the Administrative Code.
The proposed rules:
- Set forth the listed price requirements for cigarettes and other tobacco products;
- Provide the minimum sales age for cigarettes, tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, herbal cigarettes, pipes, and rolling papers; and
- Specify the format and content of the tax stamp and age restriction signs that all cigarette and tobacco product retailers are required to post under the new laws.
The Department of Health’s authority for these rules is found in section 1043 of the New York City Charter and sections 17-176.1, 17-706, and 17-709.1 of the New York City Administrative Code.