Assemblymember Kevin McCarty Announces Legislation to Prohibit Tobacco Coupons

Thursday, April 20, 2017

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento) today announced legislation that would prohibit tobacco retailers from accepting any coupon, promotion or discount on the retail sale of tobacco products.

In November 2016, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 56, which imposed a two dollar per pack tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products including cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes. Proposition 56 took effect on April 1, 2017 causing tobacco manufacturers to aggressively offer coupons and other promotional discounts to customers designed to artificially lower the price and increase the consumption of tobacco products. McCarty’s legislation would prohibit the redemption of such promotional discounts.

“The availability of cheap tobacco products increases tobacco use, particularly among kids and young adults, and the tobacco industry knows it,” said Jim Knox, California Vice President, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “Finding ways to prevent Big Tobacco from undercutting California’s recent tobacco tax increase such as prohibiting coupon redemption and multi-pack offers will go a long way to reduce tobacco use and tobacco-related disease, including cancer.”

“Tobacco consumption is a leading cause of premature death in California and across the United States,” said Assemblymember McCarty. “California has led the nation in its fight against tobacco by enacting some of the strongest anti-tobacco laws on the books. Sadly, the tobacco industry continues to trick consumers into becoming long term addicts by artificially lowering the price of tobacco products. This legislation will put a stop to this deadly promotional tactic and continue California’s progressive efforts to reduce tobacco consumption in the state.”

Similar legislation to prohibit coupons or promotional discounts on tobacco has been introduced in the State of New York and has already been enacted in numerous cities including Berkeley, San Jose, Chicago and New York City. McCarty’s legislation will be considered by the California State Legislature in the coming weeks.

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Kevin McCarty represents California’s 7th Assembly District, which include the cities of Sacramento, West Sacramento and unincorporated Sacramento County.

McCarty serves as Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance.