20 Mar 2021 Legislative Update
THE NEW YORK TOBACCONIST ASSOCIATION AND THE 2021 SESSION OF THE NEW YORK LEGISLATURE
WHO ARE WE?
The New York Tobacconist Association is a coalition of approximately 90 community premium tobacconists in each region of the state that focus almost exclusively on the sale of premium handmade cigars and pipe tobacco to a discerning of age adult clientele. All too often the members of our association get included in the barrage of legislation targeting mass market and convenience store tobacco products. We believe not all tobacco products should be treated in the same manner, and that the legislature should work to protect our small businesses.
WE ARE DIFFERENT.
Premium tobacconists cater to a narrow and specific customer. The demographic is older, with the average for a first time cigar patron being 27 years old, and the majority of the customers being ages 30-60. Premium handmade cigars, proven through national studies, do not have the public health implications associated with other tobacco products. The lack of addiction, due to the lack of inhalation, are directly associated with the lack of mortality, as well as the nationally recognized evidence, of no statistically relevant level of youth usage and access.
It’s time to protect New York’s small businesses, and that’s our shops. In 2021 we stand
- A .50 tax cap on premium handmade cigars: National legislative models provide evidence that this tax formula provide relief and security for small businesses, while enhancing collections for the state. The recent actions to raise the cigar tax rate to 75% (from 36%) will drive business to every surrounding state and other low cost alternatives.
- Modeled after other border states, New York should allow for the issuance of liquor licenses for a narrowly defined class of premium cigar shops and lounges. Such legislation will allow for premium cigar shops to offset the loss of revenue due to expansive smoking bans, while contributing to state tax collections by increasing social alternatives during this time of economic uncertainty.
- Increasing the OTP (Other Tobacco Products) tax, with some proposals calling for an increase to 129% of wholesale price.
- Flavored tobacco bans, that include premium cigars and pipe tobacco.
- New licensing requirements that add to the cost of doing business.This publication is a product of collaborative efforts between The New York Tobacconist Association and the Premium Cigar Association (PCA).