City Wins Tobacco Lawsuit

By Catherine Yang, Epoch Times

New York City prevailed in a big tobacco lawsuit against the city’s coupon ban, according to a court ruling Wednesday.

“This is a huge victory for the City’s comprehensive efforts to reduce tobacco usage in the City,” stated Nicholas Ciappetta, senior counsel at the New York City Law Department. “The restrictions will reduce the consumption of these highly addictive and deadly products, thereby saving and improving the lives of countless New York City residents.”

A coupon and discount ban on tobacco products went into effect when former mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a $10.50 minimum price for cigarettes into law last November, which went into effect this March. The city’s tobacco product prices are the highest in the country.

Earlier this year, the National Association of Tobacco Outlets challenged the discount and coupon ban.

National Association of Tobacco Outlets executive director Thomas Briant said in a statement the groups were disappointed by the ruling.

“This is a case about the right to market and sell legal products and provide customers with coupons to redeem when purchasing those products,” Briant stated. “For decades, manufacturers have issued coupons or offered special pricing on a variety of products and we believe retailers who sell legal tobacco products should have the right to accept coupons on these products and offer special promotional pricing.”

Retailers in the city cannot offer multi-pack discounts, coupons, vouchers, rebates, or discounts on non-tobacco products in exchange for purchasing tobacco products.