The sale of flavored e-cigarettes ends in New York State on May 18, as does the sale of all tobacco products in pharmacies. These are huge steps forward in helping New Yorkers live free from nicotine addiction.
The new laws were passed as part of the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget. New York becomes the second state in the nation to restrict the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.
“There are two things we definitely know about vaping. One: flavors are a major cause for youth to vape, and two: youth who vape are more likely to switch to smoking traditional cigarettes as they get older. In 2018, we saw the first increase in youth smoking rates since 2000. The only major thing that has changed in the tobacco product market place is the popularity of vape products, where they are sold, and how they are marketed,” said Jonathan Chaffee, Reality Check Coordinator of Tobacco Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany.
Research shows that the flavors in e-cigarettes attract kids and the nicotine addicts them.[i] Nearly 40% of high school seniors in New York State use e-cigarettes, also referred to as “vaping,” and 27% of all high school youth vape.[ii] This new law ending the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York State will protect kids from a lifetime of nicotine addiction.
Selling tobacco products in pharmacies has long sent a contradictory message to consumers by offering tobacco alongside medicine or products for illnesses either caused by or made worse by smoking. That ends now in New York State. It also reduces the number of stores that sell tobacco products in every community, an effective way of supporting tobacco users who want to quit and reducing youth exposure to tobacco marketing. “What has been great in Allegany County, is that all independent personally owned pharmacies have not sold tobacco products for years” states Chaffee. There is overwhelming evidence that the more young people see tobacco, the more likely they are to start smoking.[iii]
“We know that preventing the use of any substance, including nicotine, is a major priority and saves countless numbers of lives and future health care costs to society,” said Ann Weaver, Community Educator at Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc. “Speaking as someone who has assisted people with cessation, I can testify to the fact that adults trying to quit found it frustrating to see tobacco products near nicotine replacement, as the sight of tobacco products often acts as a powerful trigger and produces cravings.”
Support available for New Yorkers who want to quit
For help quitting smoking or vaping, including free nicotine replacement therapy for eligible residents, individuals can contact a health care provider, call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS or visit www.nysmokefree.com. Effective medications and counseling are covered by Medicaid and most insurance programs. Allegany County residents can also contact the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc. for free cessation services at (585) 593-1920.
Tobacco Free New York State and Reality Check student groups around the state have worked tirelessly to educate local communities about the need to protect children from the billions of dollars of tobacco marketing in places where kids can see it. The statewide “Seen Enough Tobacco” initiative is focused on putting an end to youth smoking and other tobacco use. The average age of a new smoker in New York is 13 years old,[iv] and 90% of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18.[v] Tobacco Free New York State, including the Reality Check student youth groups, is part of the NYS Tobacco Control Program.
Reality Check empowers youth to become leaders in their communities in exposing what they see as the manipulative and deceptive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry. The organization’s members produce change in their communities through grassroots mobilization and education. Reality Check in this area is affiliated with Tobacco-Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties (TF-CCA), a program managed by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
About the NYS Tobacco Control Program
The NYS Tobacco Control Program includes a network of statewide grantees who work on Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities, which includes Community Engagement and Reality Check, the Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York, the NYS Smokers’ Quitline and Surveillance and Research. Their efforts are leading the way toward a tobacco-free society. For more information, visit TobaccoFreeNYS.org, TobaccoFreeNY.org and NYSmokeFree.Com.