A coalition of health care groups including the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association in New York and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids today praised Mayor Michael Bloomberg for signing into law one of the most stringent bills in the nation to protect kids from being lured into a lifetime of smoking tobacco. The bill, Intro 433A, which bars the sale of all flavored tobacco products in New York, passed the City Council earlier this month. The new law takes the fight for a smoke-free city beyond the recent Food and Drug Administration action to ban cigarettes with some flavor additives.
"The Mayor's approval of Intro 433 is the pinnacle of more than three years of effort by the American Heart Association to remove these particularly dangerous flavored tobacco products from store shelves in New York City," stated Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, Director, Women’s Health and Heart Disease, Lenox Hill Hospital. "These products, flavored like popular candy, fruit or alcoholic drinks provide an alluring marketing mechanism for Big Tobacco and help to mask the stringency of tobacco smoke. By removing these items from our markets, we remove the temptation to smoke by our young people and hopefully will dramatically lessen the number of addicted smokers who possess a much greater risk of dying from heart disease or stroke."
The health groups stressed that allowing the sale and promotion of flavored-tobacco products provides tobacco companies with the convenient entry they need to attract children to their deadly products. The coalition expressed hope that today’s new law will help prevent another generation of children from becoming lifelong smokers – a fate that brings with it ailing health, a poor quality of life and often leads to premature death.
Intro 433A was signed into law by Mayor Bloomberg on October 28. The law takes effect in 120 days. It will empower the City Departments of Consumer Affairs and Health and Mental Hygiene to police the sale of these products. Penalties assessed will range from fines for a first offense all the way up to suspension of a business’ license to sell tobacco products for multiple violations.