New York has been a leader in tobacco control policy development and implementation, with many strong and effective tobacco control policies currently in place at the state and local level. State laws related to tobacco include:
Taxes on Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products
On July 1, 2010, New York's cigarette excise tax increased to $4.35 per pack. As of August 1, 2010, "little cigars" were taxed at the same rate as cigarettes, the tax on moist snuff increased to $2.00 per ounce and the tax on other tobacco products increased to 75% of wholesale value. Localities may levy additional tobacco taxes, but these local taxes must be approved by the state legislature. Currently, only New York City imposes a local tax on cigarettes at $1.50 per pack. New York's state cigarette tax ranks highest among states and New York City's cigarette tax ranks highest in the nation among municipalities.
Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act
Enacted in 1992 and funded at $2.5 million in 1997, this law prohibits the sale of tobacco products to minors (under the age of 18). Penalties for illegal sales to minors include fines, loss of license to sell lottery tickets, and loss of license to sell tobacco products. Every licensed tobacco retailer is assessed annually for compliance with this law. The compliance rate is 91 percent. Municipalities may establish a higher minimum age of sale. Currently, Suffolk and Nassau Counties have established a minimum age of sale of 19.
Cigarette Fire Safety Act
Enacted in 2000 and implemented in 2004, the Cigarette Fire Safety Act requires manufacturers to certify that all cigarettes they offer for sale in New York meet a specific ignition propensity standard. New York was the first jurisdiction in the world to establish such a requirement. Cigarette-caused fires and cigarette-caused fire deaths have declined following implementateion of the law.
Placement of Tobacco Products in Retail Stores
New York law requires all tobacco products to be located within stores out of reach of consumers. Self-service displays are prohibited. Tobacco products must be located behind the counter or in a locked cabinet.
Licensing of Tobacco Retailers
Every retail dealer of cigarettes or tobacco products in New York State, and every owner or operator of vending machines through which cigarettes or tobacco products are sold, must separately register each business location or vending machine with the Department of Taxation and Finance. Registration fees are: $300 for each retail location; $100 for each vending machine.
Shipping of Cigarettes
A 2002 New York State law made it illegal for common carriers such as FedEX, UPS and DHL to ship cigarettes to New York addresses, except to an address licensed to sell cigarettes. The 2010 National Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act prohibits delivery of tobacco products through the US Postal Service. The PACT Act will severely curtail the sale of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products over the Internet by: requiring Internet sellers to pay all federal, state, local or Tribal tobacco taxes and affix tax stamps before delivery to any customer; mandating that the age and identification of purchasers be checked at purchase and at delivery; and banning the delivery of tobacco products through the U.S. mail.
Clean Indoor Air Act
Enacted in 1989 and amended in 2003, this law currently prohibits smoking of tobacco (herbal cigarettes are exempted) in nearly all public and work places. Exemptions are allowed for cigar bars in existence prior to December 31, 2002, and for organizations that do not have employees. Municipalities may enact local laws that are stronger than the state law. Rockland County has prohibited smoking in motor vehicles when children (under the age of 18) are present. Many municipalities have enacted smoking bans in outdoor areas such as playgrounds, parks, and beaches.
Cigarette Marketing Standards Act
Established in the mid-20th century, this act prohibits the sale of cigarettes below cost.
In addition to statutory policies, many organizations, enterprises and municipalities have adopted binding or nonbinding voluntary policies or resolutions prohibiting smoking in multi-unit housing complexes, prohibiting smoking or tobacco use on outdoor campus areas owned or controlled by a business (e.g., a hospital campus), prohibiting the acceptance of tobacco company funds or services, expressing opposition to point of purchase advertising or smoking in movies, as well as other issues.