Advocates rally at the capitol for the menthol ban

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ALBANY, NY (WENY) — Gov. Hochul’s budget proposes legislation to expand on the state’s ban of the sale of flavored vaping products and tobacco by now including menthol.

Tuesday, advocates from the American Cancer Society braved the winter weather to rally in support of the governor’s plan.

“Tobacco companies are continuing to make incredibly large profits off of the back of New Yorkers,” said Michael Davoli, New York Senior Government Relations Director at American Cancer Society.

In 2023, the American Cancer Society estimates over fourteen thousand New Yorkers will be diagnosed with lung cancer. According to the Center for Disease Control, tobacco is the leading cause of cancer and cancer deaths.

Some advocates from the convenient stores who sell tobacco products–also at the capitol Tuesday–said they are concerned about the ban and the cigarette tax cutting into their revenue and potentially going out of business.

Davoli said this is fear mongering.

“There’s absolutely no evidence in any state around the country to show that if you get rid of these tobacco products, you’re going to cause bodegas and grocery stores and stuff to go out of business,” he said.

The governor’s budget proposal also includes a one dollar increase of the state’s cigarette tax–already among the highest in the country, at $4.35.

Some lawmakers said this is not enough. Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal (D-67th Assembly District) said the cigarette tax should be increased by $1.34.

“It’s so essential to deter people from picking up this bad habit,” she said.


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