Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

City Bans Cigarettes, Tobacco Products from Pharmacies

Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of preventable death in New York City, causing an estimated 12,000 deaths each year.
Cigarette Ban, BK Reader
Photo credit:

If to stop smoking is one of your new year's resolutions, New York City just made it easier for you by banning cigarettes and tobacco products from all pharmacies, including supermarkets with a pharmacy section. The ban took effect on January 1.

"Tobacco use remains one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in New York City, and reducing its availability is key to protecting the health of New Yorkers," said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio. "People trust pharmacies to help them stay well — they should be helping smokers quit, not the opposite."

In August 2017, de Blasio signed a package of bills into law to reduce tobacco use, which also included raising the minimum prices for all tobacco products; capping the number of tobacco retailers citywide; creating a retail license for e-cigarettes that was not open to pharmacies, effectively banning e-cigarettes from pharmacies; capping the number of e-cigarette retailers; and promoting smoke-free spaces in residential settings.

Tobacco use causes an estimated 12,000 deaths in New York City each year. Despite declines in the smoking rate, there are still more than 860,000 adults and 13,000 youth who smoke in New York City. Tobacco use can cause stroke, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, vascular disease and various types of cancer.

"The tobacco-free pharmacy law is a public health victory," said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. "It builds on New York City's commitment to reduce the number of smokers in our city so New Yorkers can live longer, healthier lives."

To help New Yorkers quit, the health department also issued a series of recommendations:

  •  Find your reasons. Make a list of your reasons for quitting and read it often.
  •  Pick a quit date. Choose a day that works for you and gives you time to prepare. Throw out all of your cigarettes beforehand, and get rid of ashtrays and lighters.
  • Get support and encouragement. Tell your family, friends and coworkers that you are quitting and ask for their support.
  • Notice and avoid what triggers cravings. Alcohol, coffee, stress and being around others who smoke can all trigger cravings. Notice what makes you feel like smoking so that you can avoid those situations, change your routine and have a plan to deal with your triggers.
  • Keep trying. It takes almost everyone multiple tries to quit smoking, so don't be afraid to try again. You haven't failed — you have learned more about your triggers. Throw out your cigarettes and start again.

Using cessation medications, such as nicotine patches and lozenges, can double the chances of quitting successfully. Additionally, the health department offers quit coach services and a free starter kit of quit-smoking medications.

For more information visit or call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487).


A note about commenting:

If you had a commenting account prior to Feb. 14, 2023, you will need to register for a new account before commenting. Click here or start to leave a comment to start the registration process.