The tobacco industry spends billions every year on advertising and promotion of commercial tobacco products in the U.S., which leads to increased youth initiation and makes it harder for tobacco users to quit. Communities can counter such harms by adopting laws that protect public health and limit exposure to commercial tobacco advertising. These policies can help ensure compliance with local business standards, reduce youth access to tobacco products, limit the negative public health and equity impacts of tobacco use, and enforce local, state, and federal tobacco control laws.

Local governments of all sizes in New York State have taken important steps to protect the health of their communities by adopting policies that restrict commercial tobacco in the retail environment. Below is a list of all such policies organized by type.

Communities are at different stages of readiness and ability to adopt policies that curb the harms of commercial tobacco. As such, many laws below contain language that does not reflect public health best practices. For model policy language, please refer to the following PHLC resources:

Tobacco Retailer Licensing Model Ordinance

This resource was prepared to assist New York jurisdictions interested in establishing or strengthening a local commercial tobacco retailer licensing program or further regulating the tobacco retail environment. This model ordinance represents a balance between state and federal minimum standards, best public health policy practices, and practicality for local governments in New York State. This model ordinance contains several policy components that communities may or may not choose to adopt at this time.

For additional information on developing sound policies regulating the sale of commercial tobacco products and the retail environment in New York state, please consult the following resources:

Restricting commercial tobacco sales to brick-and-mortar retail and regulating the products that can be sold is often done through local tobacco retailer licensing laws. Such laws require a retailer to obtain a license before selling commercial tobacco products and allow jurisdictions to suspend or revoke licenses for violations. These laws can reduce or restrict the number, location, density, and types of tobacco retail outlets; limit point-of-sale ad and product placement; specify which products can be sold; and require retailers to comply with other tobacco control measures.

Zoning laws are also used to prohibit the sale or distribution of tobacco products and establish density or proximity restrictions between tobacco retailers. *Please note that zoning policies offer jurisdictions significantly less power and control over retailers than retail licensing policies; such zoning policies have been identified with a “*” below.

Advertising/Promotion

Auburn - City*

Type of Law: Zoning
*Zoning policies offer jurisdictions significantly less power and control over retailers than retail licensing policies

Summary: Prohibits attention-getting devices (eg LED signs, flags, flashing lights) displaying tobacco products outside structure (or inside if readily visible from public right-of-way)

Local Law

Dolgeville - Village

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Prohibits coupons and multi-pack discounts on tobacco products

Enforcement Agency: Dolgeville Police Department

Local Law

Greenburgh - Town

Type of Law: Standalone

Summary: Prohibits advertising or display (defined as placement in an interior/exterior location visible from a public road or sidewalk) of tobacco products and paraphernalia within 1,500 feet of a school or public park.

Enforcement Agency: Greenburgh Building Inspector

Local Law

Hempstead - Town

Type of Law: Standalone

Summary: Prohibits indoor and outdoor advertising of a certain size for an age-restricted product within 1000 feet of a school, playground, park, childcare center, etc.

Enforcement Agencies: Any authorized county employee

Local Law

New York City

Minimum Pricing

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary:

  • Sets minimum consumer prices on tobacco products (not including e-cigarettes)
  • Prohibits consumer-facing discounts, such as coupons

Enforcement Agencies: NYC Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene; Consumer Affairs and Finance

Local Law


Minimum Package Sizing

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary:

  • Sets minimum package sizes for tobacco products
  • Prohibits delivery via foot, bicycle, and motor vehicle of tobacco products or e-cigarettes outside place of business

Enforcement Agencies: NYC Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene; Consumer Affairs and Finance

Local Law

Salina - Town

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Prohibits coupon redemption, multi-pack discounts, and other promotions

Enforcement Agencies: Office of Planning and Development

Local Law

Density

Auburn - City*

Type of Law: Zoning
*Zoning policies offer jurisdictions significantly less power and control over retailers than retail licensing policies

Summary: Restricts location of smoke shops (term is not defined) by prohibiting within 1000 feet of each other

Local Law

Irondequoit - Town

Type of Law: Zoning

Summary: Prohibits Tobacco Retail Dealers or Vapor Products Dealers from operating within 750 feet of an existing Dealer. Exempts existing retailers, allows application for variance

Local Law

New York City

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Caps the number of licenses issued in each community district; requires reassessment of cap every 2 years or when district boundaries change to determine if further reduction is necessary

Enforcement Agency: NYC Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene; Consumer Affairs and Finance

Local Law

Perinton - Town*

Type of Law: Zoning
*Zoning policies offer jurisdictions significantly less power and control over retailers than retail licensing policies

Summary:

  • Prohibits smoke and vape shops (> 50% tobacco sales) and hookah bars from being located within 500 feet of each other or other adult use establishments; or within 1000 feet of a school, place of worship, cemetery, park or playground
  • Requires registration with town clerk.

Local Law

Syracuse - City

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary:

  • Restricts new issuance of tobacco license within 750 feet of a school or public park (exception for existing licensed business in the event of a newly located school or park
  • Reduces the number of outlets by issuing only one new license for every two non-renewed or revoked

Enforcement Agency: NYC Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene; Consumer Affairs and Finance

Local Law

Prohibited Product sAles (includes Flavors)

New York City

Type of Law: Standalone

Summary: Restricts the sale of flavored tobacco products (exempts tobacco, mint, menthol, wintergreen flavors), except in tobacco bars; restricts the sale of flavored e-cigarettes or e-liquids (exempts tobacco flavor)

Enforcement Agency: NYC Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene; Consumer Affairs and Finance

Local Law

St. Regis Mohawk Tribe

Type of Law: Tribal Council Resolution

Summary: Prohibits the retail sale and distribution of flavored vaping products

Local Law

Pharmacy

Five local jurisdictions in New York State passed policies prohibiting sales of tobacco products in pharmacies. In 2020, New York State followed suit, passing a law prohibiting all sales of tobacco products in pharmacies.

Proximity

Auburn - City*

Type of Law: Zoning
*Zoning policies offer jurisdictions significantly less power and control over retailers than retail licensing policies

Summary: 500 feet of a school, day care, park, playground, etc; 300 feet of a single-family, two-family or residential town house; and 200 feet of a house of worship

Local Law

Bethlehem - Town

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Prohibits issuing new licenses to outlets located within 1,000 feet of a school

Enforcement Agency: Bethlehem Department of Planning and Economic Development

Local Law

Binghamton - City*

Type of Law: Zoning
*Zoning policies offer jurisdictions significantly less power and control over retailers than retail licensing policies

Summary: Restricts location of tobacco outlets by prohibiting land within 500 feet of a school from being newly used for tobacco retail sales, "except upon appeal to the Common Council"

Enforcement Agencies: Binghamton Office of Building Construction, Zoning and Code Enforcement

Local Law

Cayuga - County

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Prohibits issuing new licenses to outlets located within 100 feet of a school

Enforcement Agencies: Cayuga County Department of Health and Human Services

Local Law

Cortland - City

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary:

  • Requires local license for tobacco and vape retailers
  • Creates 1000 ft buffer zone around youth-oriented facilities (including schools) and from other retailers
  • Reduces number of retailers by issuing only one new license for every two expired or revoked

Enforcement Agencies: Director of City Code Enforcement Office and Police Department

Local Law

Dolgeville - Village

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Prohibits issuing license to outlets within 1,000 feet of a school

Enforcement Agency: Dolgeville Police Department

Local Law

Endicott - Village

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Prohibits issuing new licenses to outlets located within 1,000 feet of a school

Enforcement Agencies: Police Department and Code Enforcement Officer

Local Law

Greenburgh - Town

Type of Law: Standalone

Summary: Prohibits sale of tobacco products and paraphernalia within 750 feet of schools and public parks

Enforcement Agency: Greenburgh Building Inspector

Local Law

Hempstead - Town

Type of Law: Standalone

Summary: Prohibits businesses located within 1000 feet of schools, parks, and playgrounds from selling e-cigarettes and components/parts

Enforcement Agencies: Any authorized county employee

Local Law

Irondequoit - Town*

Type of Law: Zoning
*Zoning policies offer jurisdictions significantly less power and control over retailers than retail licensing policies

Summary: Prohibits Tobacco Retail Dealers or Vapor Products Dealers from operating within 1000 feet of schools, playgrounds, or childcare facilities

Local Law

Middletown - City

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary:

  • Requires license to operate a tobacco/hookah/vaping establishment (term undefined)
  • Application may be denied if retailer's proximity to school, park, etc. would negatively impact the neighborhood
  • Limits hours of operation; other restrictions

Enforcement Agencies: Department of Public Works or Fire Inspector

Local Law

Nassau - County

Type of Law: Standalone

Summary: Prohibits sale of electronic aerosal delivery systems or components/parts within 1000 feet of schools, parks, playgrounds

Local Law

Newburgh - City

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Prohibits issuing new licenses to outlets located within 1,000 feet of a school

Enforcement Agencies: Eligibility determined by City Clerk; violations enforced by Police Dept; Fire Dept permitted to inspect

Local Law

New Rochelle - City*

Type of Law: Zoning
*Zoning policies offer jurisdictions significantly less power and control over retailers than retail licensing policies

Summary: Prohibits retail stores and shops primarily selling tobacco, vape and similar nicotine products from being located within 500 feet of daycare centers, playgrounds, schools or youth centers.

Local Law

Niskayuna - Town*

Type of Law: Zoning
*Zoning policies offer jurisdictions significantly less power and control over retailers than retail licensing policies

Summary: Prohibits tobacco retailers from being located within 1,000 feet of a school or child care center

Enforcement Agency: Niskayuna Planning Department

Local Law

Perinton - Town*

Type of Law: Zoning
*Zoning policies offer jurisdictions significantly less power and control over retailers than retail licensing policies

Summary:

  • Prohibits smoke and vape shops (> 50% tobacco sales) and hookah bars from being located within 500 feet of each other or other adult use establishments; or within 1000 feet of a school, place of worship, cemetery, park or playground
  • Requires registration with town clerk.

Local Law

Sullivan - County

Type of Law: Standalone

Summary: Prohibits sale of tobacco and vaping products and paraphernalia within 1,000 feet of a school. Does not apply to existing businesses, but shall apply "upon change of ownership of such business."

Enforcement Agency: Sullivan County Public Health Services

Local Law

Syracuse - City

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Restricts new issuance of tobacco license within 750 feet of a school or public park (exception for existing licensed business in the event of a newly located school or park)

Enforcement Agency: Syracuse Division of Code Enforcement with Syracuse Police Department

Local Law

Ulster - County

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: No new licenses issued for establishments within 1,000 feet of a school

Enforcement Agency: Ulster County Department of Health

Local Law

Retailer Cap

Bethlehem - Town

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary:

  • Winnows the number of outlets by issuing one new license for every two not renewed until there are seven licenses
  • Caps the number of future licenses issued at seven per year

Enforcement Agency: Bethlehem Department of Planning and Economic Development

Local Law

Cortland - City

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary:

  • Requires local license for tobacco and vape retailers
  • Creates 1000 ft buffer zone around youth-oriented facilities (including schools) and from other retailers
  • Reduces number of retailers by issuing only one new license for every two expired or revoked

Enforcement Agencies: Director of City Code Enforcement Office and Police Department

Local Law

Dolgeville - Village

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Winnows the number of future outlets by issuing only renewed, not new, licenses

Enforcement Agency: Dolgeville Police Department

Local Law

Endicott - Village

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Reduces the number of outlets by issuing only one new license for every two non-renewed or revoked

Enforcement Agencies: Police Department and Code Enforcement Officer

Local Law

New York City

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary:

  • Requires license for tobacco products dealers, including additional requirements regarding cigarette tax
  • Prohibits employees under age 18 from handling tobacco products unless under direct supervision
  • Prohibits retail licenses from being issued to pharmacies

Enforcement Agencies: NYC Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene; Consumer Affairs and Finance

Local Law

Newburgh - City

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Reduces overall number of outlets by issuing only one new license for every two non-renewed or revoked

Enforcement Agencies: Eligibility determined by City Clerk; violations enforced by Police Dept; Fire Dept permitted to inspect

Local Law

Salina - Town

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Caps number of licenses issued at 38

Enforcement Agencies: Office of Planning and Development

Local Law

Syracuse - City

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Reduces the number of outlets by issuing only one new license for every two non-renewed or revoked

Enforcement Agency: Syracuse Division of Code Enforcement with Syracuse Police Department

Local Law

Tax

New York City

Tax on Tobacco Products

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Imposes tax on tobacco products

Enforcement Agencies: NYC Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene; Consumer Affairs and Finance

Local Law


Tobacco Product Dealers

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary:

  • Requires license for tobacco products dealers, including additional requirements regarding cigarette tax
  • Prohibits employees under age 18 from handling tobacco products unless under direct supervision

Enforcement Agencies: NYC Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene; Consumer Affairs and Finance

Local Law

Tobacco Retail License

Bethlehem - Town

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Requires license for sales of any tobacco product

Enforcement Agency: Bethlehem Department of Planning and Economic Development

Local Law

Buffalo - City

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Requires Tobacco Retail License to operate a tobacco/hookah/vaping establishment

  • In addition, the Unified Development Ordinance - Chapter 496 of the City Code defines "Tobacco/Hookah/Vaping Establishment" as establishments selling tobacco products, hookah products, ENDS and related accessories. It restricts such establishments to certain zones of the city and requires a special use permit in some zones.

Enforcement Agencies: City of Buffalo Department of Permit and Inspection Services

Local Law

Cayuga - County

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Requires license for sales of any tobacco product

Enforcement Agency: Cayuga County Department of Health and Human Services

Local Law

Cortland - City

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary:

  • Requires local license for tobacco and vape retailers
  • Creates 1000 ft buffer zone around youth-oriented facilities (including schools) and from other retailers
  • Reduces number of retailers by issuing only one new license for every two expired or revoked

Enforcement Agencies: Director of City Code Enforcement Office and Police Department

Local Law

Dolgeville - Village

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Caps at three (3) the number of new licenses issue

Enforcement Agency: Dolgeville Police Department

Local Law

Dutchess - County

Type of Law: Tobacco Retailer License*

Summary:

  • Requires permit from County Health Commissioner to sell any tobacco product, exempts private clubs (*This permit system mirrors licensing scheme so this law has been categorized as such)
  • Requires outlets to conspicuously place sign produced by the Dutchess County Dept of Health warning of harms of tobacco use

Enforcement Agency: Dutchess County Commissioner of Health

Local Law

Endicott - Village

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Requires license for sales of any tobacco product

Enforcement Agencies: Police Department and Code Enforcement Officer

Local Law

Middletown - City

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary:

  • Requires license to operate a tobacco/hookah/vaping establishment (term undefined)
  • Application may be denied if retailer's proximity to school, park, etc. would negatively impact the neighborhood
  • Limits hours of operation; other restrictions

Enforcement Agencies: Department of Public Works or Fire Inspector

Local Law

New York City

Wholesale and Retail Sales

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Requires license for wholesale and retail sales of any tobacco product (excludes e-cigarettes, which have separate registration requirement)

Enforcement Agencies: NYC Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene; Consumer Affairs and Finance

Local Law


Tobacco Retail License

Type of Law: Tobacco Retail License*

Summary: Requires registration and verification of retail tobacco and e-cigarette stores [*not a licensing scheme, but registration required so listing under "Licensing"]

Enforcement Agencies: NYC Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene; Consumer Affairs and Finance

Local Law


Tobacco Products Dealers

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary:

  • Requires license for tobacco products dealers, including additional requirements regarding cigarette tax
  • Prohibits employees under age 18 from handling tobacco products unless under direct supervision
  • Prohibits retail licenses from being issued to pharmacies

Enforcement Agencies: NYC Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene; Consumer Affairs and Finance

Local Law

Newburgh - City

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Requires license for sales of any tobacco product

Enforcement Agencies: Eligibility determined by City Clerk; violations enforced by Police Dept; Fire Dept permitted to inspect

Local Law

Salina - Town

Type of Law: Requires Tobacco Retail License

Summary: Caps number of licenses issued at 38

Enforcement Agencies: Office of Planning and Development

Local Law

Syracuse - City

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Requires license for sales of any tobacco product

Enforcement Agency: Syracuse Division of Code Enforcement with Syracuse Police Department

Local Law

Tannersville - Village

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Prohibits issuing new licenses to outlets located within 1,000 feet of a school

Enforcement Agency: Tannersville Village Administration

Local Law

Ulster - County

Type of Law: Licensing

Summary: Requires tobacco retail license

Enforcement Agency: Ulster County Department of Health

Local Law