De Blasio Signs Anti-Smoking Package, Raises Price of Cigarettes to Highest in Nation

A worker smokes a cigarette as he fixes billboards on Times Square, in New York City / Getty Images
August 28, 2017

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation Monday aimed to reduce smoking that raises the minimum price of cigarettes to $13.00, the highest in the United States.

De Blasio signed a seven-bill package with the stated goal of reducing the number of smokers in New York City by nearly 200,000 by the year 2020, NBC New York reported.

The bills, which will go into effect June 1, raise the current price floor of $10.50 to $13.00. The elevated price floor is projected to lead to a 6.4 percent decrease in adult cigarette smoking. The legislation will also generate a revenue of $1 million annually for public housing as a result of a 10 percent tax on the minimum price of other tobacco products.

The comprehensive package will limit the number of stores that can sell tobacco products by limiting the number of issued licenses. Each community district will be capped at 50 percent of the current number.

The legislation also requires e-cigarette retailers to obtain a license and will cap the number at half the current number of retailers in community districts. In addition, pharmacies will not be able to sell e-cigarettes.

The current licensing fee will be raised from $110 to $200.

Residential buildings will be required to create a smoking policy and communicate the policy to residents. A failure to disclose the policy to residents could result in a $100 civil penalty.

Further guiding that policy, cigarettes and e-cigarettes will be banned from common areas in residential buildings with more than three units. The current law applies to buildings with 10 or more units.

The final bill prohibits any retail store with a pharmacy from selling tobacco products.

The comprehensive effort was introduced by five Democratic Council Members: Corey Johnson, Brad Lander, Fernando Cabrera, Ritchie Torres, and James Vacca.