Washington, D.C., Oct. 31, 2013 —The American Heart Association applauds New York City for continuing to be a national leader in reducing tobacco use by passing bills that will discourage young people from smoking and encourage more smokers to quit.
“We are proud of the city’s leadership for passing sensible legislation that will establish a minimum price for cigarettes and little cigars, stop industry discounting gimmicks and prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown. “These measures that the American Heart Association advocated for will go a long way toward reducing tobacco use, the number one preventable cause of heart disease.”
The first bill passed Wednesday will prohibit the sale of tobacco to anyone under 21. Since most smokers start smoking before that age, this bill should help reduce the number of youth who take up this deadly habit.
The second bill will establish a minimum price on tobacco products. New York City leads the nation with the highest combined state and local tax on tobacco products. High tobacco taxes are proven to reduce tobacco use. In recent years the tobacco industry has worked to undercut the high tax by offering coupons and other product discounts to smokers. This practice will no longer be allowed in New York City.
Brown praised the city leaders for their commitment to public health, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and City Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley.