April 18, 2024

Governor Hochul Signs Public Health Legislation to Crack Down on Tobacco Sales

Governor Kathy Hochul today signed public health legislation (A1025/S50) to crack down on tobacco sales in New York. This legislation will make tobacco products less accessible by prohibiting the sale of these products at vending stands and in vending machines in New York State buildings.

“For decades, tobacco companies have hooked generations of New Yorkers on nicotine,” Governor Hochul said. “We’re cracking down on Big Tobacco by banning the sale of their harmful products in New York State buildings. Protecting public health is a top priority for me, and I will continue to discourage the sale and use of these dangerous, addictive products in New York.”

Legislation (A1025/S50) amends the public buildings law to prohibit the sale of tobacco products in vending machines and at vending stands leasing space in New York State buildings. The prohibition will apply to new leases and contracts with vendors. This legislation makes the public buildings law consistent with other state laws and policies regarding tobacco sales. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, resulting in more than 480,000 deaths each year. Given the proven link between the use of tobacco products and serious disease and health risks, this legislation aims to protect public health in New York State by curbing the sale of these products on State property. According to the 2013 Independent Evaluation Report of the New York Tobacco Control Program, reductions in tobacco use are achieved by creating a social environment and legal climate in which tobacco becomes less desirable, less acceptable, and less accessible. 

State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal said, “New York is taking an important stand today against Big Tobacco by outlawing the sale of tobacco products in state buildings. This new statute represents the all-hands-on-deck approach that’s required to curb smoking, which is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and responsible for the deaths of nearly 14,000 New Yorkers between 2015 and 2019. I’m extremely grateful to Governor Hochul and Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins for their support of our legislation, along with my colleague, Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn, the American Cancer Society, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.”

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn said, “New York State is a national leader in tobacco control policy, with strong laws and regulations aiming to prevent Big Tobacco from sickening and killing our communities for profit. Our state’s public buildings need to be consistent with our vital fight, and we are now finally setting an example by prohibiting the sale of tobacco in public buildings with my sponsored bill (A1025/S50) becoming law. I thank NYS Senate bill sponsor Brad Hoylman-Sigal, my colleagues in the Legislature and Governor Kathy Hochul for passing this pivotal law that discourages smoking throughout the extensive public buildings across New York State and aligns them with our tobacco control efforts. The fight against Big Tobacco isn’t over, but this is a significant victory as we continue to protect our communities from deadly nicotine addiction and save more lives.”

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