Despite millions of tax dollars coming to the cash strapped state of New York from the sale of tobacco products annually, New York City is taking actions that will ban the sale of some of those products throughout the city's five boroughs. In addition, the city is moving toward posting gruesomely graphic anti-smoking signs at the cash registers of the city's 12,000 cigarette retailers.
"I'm going to assume that these are well-meaning people, but they are moving down a very slippery slope and do not realize the errors of their ways," said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association. The IPCPR is joining the National Association of Tobacco Outlets and the Cigar Association of America to campaign against these actions.
The New York City Council is reviewing Proposed Introduction No. 433A that seeks to ban the sale of flavored cigarettes, flavored cigars, flavored chewing tobacco and other flavored tobacco products. At the same time, the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene wants to put graphic anti-smoking signs at cash registers where cigarettes are displayed, the first such action in the United States.
"They claim that banning the sale of flavored tobaccos is supposed to protect youth from purchasing these products. Age laws are already in place forbidding the sale of tobacco purchases by youths. Anyway, most flavored tobacco products have been included in recent federal legislation giving the Federal Drug Administration regulatory power over cigarettes. There is no reason for New York City to waste time debating whether to assume that authority," said McCalla
The IPCPR, an association of some 2,000 premium cigar store owners and manufacturers and distributors of premium tobacco products and accoutrements, also argues against the proposed anti-tobacco signage at cash registers because, among other reasons, it is discriminatory against a minority.
"About 20 percent of New York adults smoke, so that makes them a minority and that makes such signage discriminatory. Maybe they should consider putting signs in the candy sections of stores warning of the dangers of obesity and in the beer and wine sections proclaiming the dangers of alcoholism and drinking and driving. It is a slippery slope, indeed, and smokers and non-smokers alike should be against having the government tell them what to do," he said.
Thursday, July 30, 2009