FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 28, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG SIGNS LEGISLATION PROHIBITING THE SALE OF CERTAIN FLAVORED TOBACCO PRODUCTS
Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws
"The next bill before me is Introductory Number 433-A, sponsored by Council Members Rivera, Arroyo, Avella, Brewer, Dickens, Felder, James, Liu, Mealy, Mendez, Palma, Recchia, Sanders, Seabrook, Sears, Weprin, Mark-Viverito, Gentile, Foster, Gennaro, Vacca, Gioia, Lappin, Gerson, Stewart, Nelson, Koppell, Jackson, Yassky, White, Mitchell, Vallone, Eugene, Ulrich and Vann. Introductory Number 433-A would prohibit the sale of certain flavored tobacco products.
"Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in New York City. It is responsible for 1 in 3 preventable deaths and 1 in 7 deaths overall. Preventing tobacco-related illness and death has been and continues to be a key priority for this Administration. In the past few years, we have focused our efforts on proven tobacco control strategies. We successfully advocated for increases in state and federal cigarette excise taxes - which we estimate will result in 75,000 fewer smokers and 25,000 lives saved. We have also launched a series of hard-hitting public health educational campaigns showing the ugly reality of smoking. These ad campaigns have contributed to a significant adult smoking decline of 16 percent between 2005 and 2008 - which corresponds to 190,000 fewer adult smokers in New York City. With these strategies firmly in place, we think that now is the time to explore additional tobacco control approaches, particularly those that respond to recent trends in youth tobacco behaviors as well as new industry products and promotional efforts.
"It is well known that nearly 90 percent of all smokers begin smoking as adolescents. Tobacco products that are flavored in a variety of flavors including peach, strawberry, chocolate chip, and bubblegum, are affordable and accessible to youth in corner stores and bodegas, and are wrapped in colorful packaging that resemble candy and gum. By disguising the harsh flavor and odor of tobacco, these tobacco products attract young smokers.
"Introductory Number 433-A would ban the sale of tobacco products with characterizing flavors, except for menthol, mint, or wintergreen, in any location other than a tobacco bar. This bill improves upon the recent federal ban on flavored cigarettes, and makes New York City the first city to protect children from all flavored products on the market. A ban on flavored tobacco products will reduce the tobacco industry's ability to market to youth, which may, in turn, decrease youth experimentation and initiation.
"I would like to thank Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz, and their staff for working on this bill. I would also like to thank the Council for approving this legislation."
Stu Loeser/Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958