The bill was introduced by Councilman Corey Johnson, who heads the City Council’s Health Committee. Nine City Council members voted against the bill. The new legislation, signed Monday, will take effect on June 1, 2018. Complementary measures will apply: the number of places allowed to sell cigarettes will be reduced because the number of retailers licensed to sell tobacco products will be reduced by half. The sale of all tobacco products will be banned in pharmacies and all residential buildings will have smoking policies.
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City officials said they believe the new restrictions could decrease the smoking rate to 12 percent by 2020. “We are sending a loud and clear message that we will not let their greed kill any more New Yorkers without a fight,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday in signing the bill into law. The opponents of the price increase say many smokers will move into buying untaxed, unregulated cigarettes on the black market. Jim Calvin, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores, argued also that “these measures will destroy the business investment of retailers who have been leading the effort to prevent youth access to tobacco products, and the result will be lost revenue, lost jobs and an increasing number of sales in unregulated and illegal settings.” According to de Blasio, the city still has more than 900,000 smokers, including 15,000 youth.