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New York could completely ban tobacco products: How did we get here?

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  • Staff Report 

The Hochul administration is apparently exploring support for a potential ban on all tobacco product sales in New York, according to a recent survey commissioned by the state Health Department. The “New York Local Opinion Leaders Survey” included questions about the respondents’ opinions on ending the sale of tobacco products within a decade and banning sales to individuals born after a specific date.

The survey, conducted by nonprofit research organization RTI International, also sought feedback on other tobacco-related policies, such as capping the number of tobacco retailers in a community and prohibiting sales near schools. The poll was distributed to community leaders, including county legislators and county directors of public health.

Critics of the ban argue that it would put many stores out of business and lead to increased illegal tobacco sales. Kent Sopris, president of the New York Association of Convenience Store Owners, questioned the state’s stance on promoting the sale of retail cannabis while potentially banning tobacco products.

The Health Department maintains that the survey’s questions do not indicate support or opposition to the policies mentioned, emphasizing that gathering local leaders’ opinions is crucial for effective public health.