The New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS) sponsored a study that found a proposed flavoured tobacco ban in the state would be bad news for small business and state revenues.
NYACS, according to a press release announcing the completion of the study, retained Regional Economic Models Inc to evaluate the potential impacts of a ban on menthol cigarettes and other flavour tobacco products.
Regional Economic Models estimated that any proposed action to ban flavoured tobacco products would cost New York state $3.4 billion in lost tax revenues over the next decade. For business owners, it would cost them nearly $500 million in lost sales revenue and would eliminate at least 1,200 jobs in the convenience retail segment.
The New York state legislature introduced legislation that would prevent the state’s 21,000 licenced and regulated tobacco retailers from selling flavoured tobacco products to consumers who can verify that they are of or above the minimum legal sales age of 21 years. This measure, if passed, would build on a law that was implemented on July 1, 2020, that prohibits the sale of all flavoured vaping products across the state. NYACS noted that New York City also bans the sale of all flavoured non-cigarette tobacco products, including vapour products.
“As convenience stores struggle to keep the doors open to serve local communities, some elected officials want to further impair the economic viability of these essential small businesses,” said Jim Calvin, NYACS President, in a press release.”Especially when such a ban would slash tax revenue by hundreds of millions of dollars a year, cause job losses, and intensify an already nation-leading illegal tobacco trade.”
Business and labour unions joining NYACS in opposing a statewide tobacco flavour ban are the Bodega and Small Business Association, the New York Association of Service Station and Repair Shops, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 810, the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association, the New York City Newsstand Operators Association, and the Asian American Retailers Association.
“Here in New York, cigarette smoking is at a record low, the purchase age has been elevated to 21, and six new restrictions on tobacco retailing were enacted within the past seven months,” Calvin added. “Given these trends, taking a more drastic action with harmful fiscal and economic consequences is unwarranted.”