“Even though tobacco is a leading cause of premature death across the country, Big Tobacco will stop at nothing to hook people on these deadly products,” said de Blasio said while signing the bills. “We are sending a loud and clear message that we will not let their greed kill any more New Yorkers without a fight.”
In what is considered to be the biggest anti-smoking movement since 2003, when a set of smoking bans were set in place in public spaces such as bars and restaurants, this motion is made up of a group of seven different sets of regulations.
Democrat Fernando Cabrera, sponsored a successful regulation that imposes a license scheme on e-cigarette vendors. While NYC already had such a scheme in place for tobacco retailers this regulation means that now vape shops will also be subject to such a fee. Additionally, this law automatically places a cap on the number of tobacco sellers (including those who sell non-tobacco containing vaping products), allowed in the city.
“The single most important thing you can do for your health is to stop smoking,” said Health Commissioner Mary Bassett. “As a former smoker, I know how hard it is to quit. That’s why these laws are so important — they will make it easier for New Yorkers to quit smoking or never start.”
High taxes and other forbidding strategies, do not work
However, Jack Russo, a tobacco industry analyst at Edward Jones & Co., disagrees. “This has been ongoing for many years now,” Russo said. “Taxes keep going up on the products and the manufacturers respond by raising prices to offset the higher excise taxes. You would think consumers would say, ‘I’m not going to pay that.’ However, this consumer is addicted and they might pay anything for their fix.”
Inline with what Russo said, data from Australia, where smoking rates have risen despite the high cigarette prices and heavy smoking/nicotine bans, clearly indicates that forbidding strategies do not work.
“For the first time ever, there has been no statistically significant reduction in the smoking rate, and an increase in the number of smokers in Australia,” said Colin Mendelsohn, an expert in public health at the University of New South Wales whilst pointing out that for the first time, the smoking rates in Australia have exceeded those in the US. “This is despite plain packaging and the most expensive cigarette prices in the world.”
Harm reduction is the answer
On the other hand, data from Sweden and the UK, who boast the lowest and second lowest smoking rates in Europe in this order, clearly indicate that addicts respond better to harm reduction strategies. In Fact, the UK which has endorsed vaping products as smoking cessation tools is reporting the lowest number of smokers recorded since the 70’s.