New Yorkers will no longer be able to pick up a pack at their local pharmacy.
A law banning pharmacies from selling cigarettes and other tobacco products is set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.
Mayor de Blasio signed the bill, which also bans pharmacies from selling e-cigarettes, back in 2017.
“People trust pharmacies to help them stay well — they should be helping smokers quit, not the opposite,” Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio said in a statement.
Health officials said tobacco use — which is linked to strokes, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and several cancers — causes about 12,000 deaths a year in New York City. Officials estimate more than 860,000 adults and 13,000 youth smoke in the city.
Many pharmacies have voluntarily stopped selling tobacco products, including the large CVS chain which made the decision in 2014, but about 500 pharmacies still sell tobacco products, according to the city.
The pharmacy ban was part of a package of anti-smoking bills that also raised the minimum price of cigarettes to $13 a pack.
New York City’s aggressive anti-smoking campaign started in 2002 with the Smoke Free Air Act, which banned smoking in bars, restaurants, offices and many other public areas. In 2011, that ban was extended to parks and beaches.