Retailers Organize to Oppose NYC Tobacco Ordinances

Thomas A. Briant, NATO Executive Director

If the tobacco restrictions being considered by the New York City Council are adopted, retailers in the New York City would face some of the most restrictive regulations on the sale of tobacco products in the country. That is why New York City retailers have joined together to form the Save Our Stores Coalition to oppose these proposed restrictions.

To date, 3,813 New York City small businesses have joined the Save Our Stores retail coalition to fight ordinance proposals that would require all tobacco retailers to stock tobacco products out of the public view, ban the redemption of tobacco product coupons, prohibit promotional or discount pricing on tobacco products, require cigars to be sold in packages of four or more, unless an individual cigar has a retail price of $3.00 or more per cigar, and raise the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21.

As a part of the effort to oppose these ordinances, a press conference was held in New York City to announce the formation of the Save Our Stores Coalition, retailers and representatives of retail trade associations testified against the ordinance before the New York City Committee on Health, and a citywide grassroots outreach program has been launched to educate retailers and city residents about the proposed tobacco selling restrictions.

Besides signing up more than 3,800 retailers to be a part of the coalition, the grassroots outreach program has resulted in some 523 retailers sending letters to their respective New York City Council members urging them to vote against these tobacco regulations. As a further means to generate retailer and citizen involvement, the Save Our Stores Coalition has launched a website at The website provides news updates, facts about the proposed ordinances, and a “Take Action” page to assist visitors to the website in contacting their New York City council member to voice their opposition to the proposed tobacco restrictions and prohibitions.

The New York City Council has not yet scheduled the retail tobacco ordinances for discussion and action. Until the ordinances are placed on the city council’s agenda, the Save Our Stores Coalition will continue its efforts to educate local lawmakers on the negative impact of these proposed restrictions and urge them to oppose the adoption of the regulations.