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Sale of e-cigarettes now banned in state, pharmacies no longer allowed to sell tobacco products

Posted 19 May 2020 at 1:31 pm

Press Release, Tobacco-Free Western New York

The sale of flavored e-cigarettes ended in New York State on Monday, as did 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.

“These policies are all part of a full court press,” said Andrew Hyland, PhD, chairman of the Department of Health Behavior and head of tobacco control programs at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. “They are part of long-standing efforts by New York State to change the social norms about tobacco by making products less appealing and less accessible.”

Research shows that the flavors in e-cigarettes attract kids and the nicotine addicts them. Nearly 40 percent of high school seniors in New York State use e-cigarettes, also referred to as “vaping,” and 27 percent of all high school youth vape. 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. While Erie County banned tobacco sales in pharmacies as part of its Public Health Protection Act of 2018, the seven other counties in Western New York and New York State have now implemented this law.

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. There is overwhelming evidence that the more young people see tobacco, the more likely they are to start smoking.

“We are pleased that the new laws have taken effect,” said Paul Pettit, director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health departments. “The timing is excellent with COVID-19 impacting the health of so many who have underlying health issues, which may have been brought on due to health issues related to smoking and vaping.”

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. Effective medications and counseling are covered by Medicaid and most insurance programs.

Tobacco Free Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties and Reality Check student groups from the GOW region 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,  and 90 percent of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18. Tobacco Free New York State, including the Reality Check student youth groups, is part of the NYS Tobacco Control Program.

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