Assemblywoman Amy Paulin’s two anti-smoking bills, which she introduced earlier this year, have both passed the Assembly. These bills build on her law from a year ago which banned smoking in college dormitories, thereby discouraging young people from beginning the habit and protecting non-smokers from second hand smoke. Last year, Paulin was also honored by the American Heart Association for her work on tobacco control.
In continuing to work towards the goal of eliminating youth smoking, one of Paulin’s new bills will ban the sale of flavored cigarettes in New York State (A.777). As Paulin notes, “the recent proliferation of cigarettes that contain flavors imitating foods, candies, deserts, beverages and spices is not only a disturbing trend but an obvious attempt to market cigarettes to children.” A study by the Harvard School of Public Health echoed Paulin’s sentiment, concluding that “flavored cigarettes can promote youth initiation and help young occasional smokers become daily smokers by masking the natural harshness and taste of tobacco smoke and increasing the acceptability of a toxic product.” Thus, by banning the sale of flavored cigarettes, Paulin’s new legislation will discourage teenagers from picking up the dangerous habit and help build a healthier New York.
Paulin’s other bill which recently passed in the Assembly will help New Yorkers make more informed decisions about smoking by requiring cigarette manufacturers to disclose additives and product design characteristics used in their cigarettes (A.806). Tobacco smoke contains over 4,600 chemicals, and the public does not know all of the ingredients added to cigarettes, snuff or chewing tobacco. “It is my hope that better educating the public about the dangers of smoking and what goes into each cigarette will both discourage prospective smokers from taking up the habit, and encourage current smokers to quit,” said Paulin.
“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in United States and costs the nation more than $96 billion dollars in healthcare every year,” noted Paulin. “To build a strong New York for the future, we must have progressive smoking laws that greatly improve the health of our citizens and also bring significant financial savings,” she added. Paulin’s bills are now before the Senate.