On Wednesday, April 19, New York City became the latest to join a long list of USA cities to propose strict measures to cut tobacco use. Another piece of legislation bans pharmacies-or retail stores that have pharmacies-from selling tobacco products, including cigarettes, a longtime goal of anti-smoking activists. "That's where hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers get untaxed cigarettes every day out on the street from black marketers and bootleggers who undercut licensed taxed retailers like the ones we represent".
Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to increase the price of cigarettes and impose a new tax on other tobacco products to help fund public housing. An estimated 900,000 New York City residents now smoke.
Other proposals would set minimum prices and create taxes on smokeless tobacco and small cigars, and require sellers of electronic cigarettes to obtain licenses. The bill also proposed the reduction in the tobacco retailer numbers via attrition.
But the move also drew attention to another issue in the city - sales of bootleg cigarettes from other states that allow smokers in NY to bypass taxes and buy cigarettes for as little as $7 or $8 a pack.
The package of bills introduced by Johnson and Councilmen Brad Lander, Fernando Cabrera and Ritchie Torres will go before the City Council's Health Committee on April 27. He said he's not anxious about new tobacco regulations. This policy needs to be shared with both existing and future tenants. There are more than 550 such pharmacies in the city with tobacco-selling licenses.
De Blasios' predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, began the charge to stub out smoking in the city in 2002, when the smoking rate was 22 percent. Twenty-two percent of adults there smoked.
Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Staten Island has 402 cigarette retailers with licenses, according to the mayor's office. We were balancing a lot of factors.
Diaz, an ally of the mayor's foe Gov. Cuomo, has taken plenty of shots at de Blasio - and for a while was coy about possibly mounting a primary challenge that never materialized.