Minimum Prices of Other Tobacco Products (Amendment to Chapter 13 of Title 24 of the RCNY)

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Comment By: 
Thursday, August 2, 2018
Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf): 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

Tobacco use is a leading cause of premature, preventable death in the City, killing an estimated 12,000 people annually. All tobacco products—including cigars, smokeless tobacco, tobacco containing shisha and others—are inherently dangerous, and contain nicotine, which is addictive. Despite the City’s progress in reducing cigarette smoking among youth and adults, an increasing percentage of youth are using other tobacco products (OTP) like cigars, waterpipes (hookahs), and smokeless tobacco.

According to the World Health Organization, raising prices through tobacco taxes is the single most effective way to decrease tobacco use. Taxation reduces tobacco use by reducing youth initiation, encouraging tobacco users to quit, and reducing consumption among those who do not quit. Similarly, increased minimum prices for tobacco products can also decrease tobacco consumption. Given relatively high levels of taxation on cigarettes at the federal, state, and local levels, OTP are generally less expensive than cigarettes, increasing their attractiveness as cheaper alternatives. In 2017, Local Law 145 was enacted to reduce the prevalence of OTP use, particularly among youth, utilizing two strategies: first, it establishes price floors for OTP and second, it imposes taxes on OTP.  The proposed rules address the OTP price floors.

In contrast to cigarettes, which are required to be packaged and sold in packages of 20, the OTP regulated by Local Law 145 are not packaged or sold in a standardized manner, with the exception of little cigars which are sold and packaged like cigarettes. The Department is proposing these rules to publicize the price floors of the OTP products for a range of quantities to account for the variation in the packaging and quantity of the products sold.

Local Law 145 sets minimum pack sizes for OTP, complementing the price floors. When OTP is offered for sale in relatively small, inexpensive quantities, it may facilitate experimentation with tobacco by non-tobacco users, potentially contributing to addiction, and help tobacco users to sustain their addiction at little cost. 

The proposed amendment is as follows:

 “Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.


Public Hearing

Proposal to amend Chapter 13 of Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York to clarify requirements related to Local Law 145 of 2017, which imposes a tax on tobacco products other than cigarettes (OTP), creates minimum prices for cigarettes and OTP, and sets minimum pack sizes for various OTP.

Public Hearing Date: 
Thursday, August 2, 2018 - 9:45am

Svetlana Burdeynik, (347) 396-6078,

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Gotham Center
42-09 28th Street, 8th Floor, Room 8-25
Queens, NY 11101