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

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Download Copy of Adopted Rule (.pdf): 

Statement of Basis and Purpose


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. 

Local Law 145 establishes minimum package sizes for cigarettes, tobacco products and non-tobacco shisha that complement the 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. 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.  To address this, Local Law 145 prohibits retail dealers from selling little cigars, snus, shisha and non-tobacco shisha, and loose tobacco unless such products are sold in the prescribed package size. 

To bring the Department’s rules into agreement with Local Law 145, two sections of Chapter 13 of Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York are being repealed and readopted. Specifically, section 13-02, which prohibits the sale of cigarettes or the sale of tobacco products for less than the listed price, is repealed and readopted to add definitions for terms used in the rule that are consistent with those in Local Law 145. Section 13-03 is repealed and readopted to reflect the price floors required by Local Law 145 for OTP products in a range of quantities to account for the variation in the packaging and quantity of the products sold.

In addition, the Department is repealing section 13-04 of chapter 13, which prohibited retail dealers from selling cigars unless they were sold in a package of at least four cigars, because Local Law 145 eliminated this requirement and replaced it with a prohibition on the sale of any cigarette or tobacco product outside of the package provided by the manufacturer.  The Department is also repealing section 13-05 of chapter 13, which prohibits the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to persons less than twenty-one years of age, because the rule does not elaborate on the prohibition imposed by the Administrative Code and, since the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) enforces this prohibition, there is no need for it to be repeated in the rules of the Department.