Discounted Tobacco Product Sales

New York City’s Sensible Tobacco Enforcement Policies

Generally

The law, adopted in 2013, restricts the availability of inexpensive tobacco products and enhances enforcement of the City’s cigarette excise taxes (details of the latter are included here). The law accomplishes the restriction in several ways:

  • Prohibiting the discounted sale of any tobacco product, including those accomplished through the redemption of coupons, cross-promotions and multipack discounts.
  • Setting a price floor of $10.50 for each pack of cigarettes or little cigars.
  • Establishing a minimum pack size of 20 little cigars.
  • Establishing a minimum pack size of 4 cigars (which individually retail for less than or equal to $3)

(The policy prohibiting discounted sales of tobacco products was challenged and upheld by a federal court.)

Penalties

The law is enforced by the Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene, Consumer Affairs, and Finance.

Civil penalties for violations of the law include:

  • not more than $1,000 for first violation within a five year period;
  • not more than $2,000 for second violation within a five year period; and
  • not more than $5,000 for a third violation within a a five year period

Additional penalties

The Departments may suspend or revoke any city-issued license held by a retailer who violates the law.