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Public Health Advocacy Institute

at Northeastern University School of Law

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You are here: Home > Tobacco Control > Laws of New York > NYC Restriction on Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products

NYC Restriction on Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products

New York City Administrative Code §17-715

The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act prohibits manufacture of cigarettes with characterizing flavor (with the exception of tobacco and menthol flavors). To partially fill the gap left for non-cigarette tobacco products, in October of 2009 New York City Council enacted a law restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products to registered “tobacco bars.” The restriction did not include menthol-flavored products or e-cigarettes. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law in 2013, following a challenge by smokeless tobacco manufacturers.

“Tobacco bars” are businesses that primarily sell tobacco products for on-site use (most typically high end cigars). City law (17-502(jj)) defines them as a business that, in the calendar year ending December 31, 2001, generated 10% or more of its total annual gross income from the on-site sale of tobacco products and the rental of on-site humidors, not including any sales from vending machines, and is registered with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in accordance with the rules of DOHMH.

In 2019, the City Council again amended the Administrative Code to also prohibit the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes and e-liquids (including menthol-flavored versions of these products). This policy will become effective July 1, 2020.


  • $1000 for first violation
  • $1000 for each additional violation the same day
  • Not more than $2000 for second violation within 2-year period;
  • Not more than $2000 for each additional violation found on that day
  • Not more than $5000 for the third and all subsequent violations within a 2-year period.
  • Additional penalty includes loss of retail dealer license for third violation (on different days) within 2 year period.


Several New York City agencies coordinate to enforce the provisions of this law, including the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department of Finance, and the Department of Consumer Affairs. Designated police officers may seize flavored tobacco products and flavored e-cigarettes if found in a store.

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