The sale of flavored e-cigarettes ends in New York State this week, 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.
Karyn Johnson, Program Coordinator with Tobacco-Free CNY, a program that serves Onondaga, Cayuga and Oswego Counties, states “Ending the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and sales of tobacco product in pharmacies is an important step in reducing death and disability from tobacco products in our community.”
Research shows that the flavors in e-cigarettes attract kids, and the nicotine addicts them. 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. 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. There is overwhelming evidence that the more young people see tobacco, the more likely they are to start smoking.
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.
Tobacco-Free CNY, Tobacco Free New York State and Reality Check student groups in Syracuse and Auburn have worked 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% of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18.
Tobacco-Free CNY, a program implemented by Onondaga County Health Department, including Tobacco Free New York State and the Reality Check student youth groups, is part of the NYS Tobacco Control Program. Their efforts are leading the way toward a tobacco-free society. For more information, visit
 Flavored Tobacco Products Attract Kids: Brief Overview of Key Issues, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Dec. 2019, https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/us-resources/fact-sheet/flavored-tobacco-products-attract-kids-brief-overview-of-key-issues
 NYS Dept. of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control, StatShot Vol. 12, No. 4/Oct 2019, Trends in Electronic Cigarette Use Among High School Youth NYS-YTS 2014-2018: https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/tobacco_control/reports/statshots/volume12/n4_ecig_trends.pdf
 A Report of the Surgeon General: Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults “Executive Summary” 2012, p. 1, 3: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/preventing-youth-tobacco-use/exec-summary.pdf
 Information about Tobacco Use, Smoking and Secondhand Smoke, https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/tobacco_control/index.htm
 A Report of the Surgeon General “The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress” 2014, p. 12, 696, 708: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK179276/pdf/Bookshelf_NBK179276.pdf