Confusion forces delay of New York town’s cigarette ad ban

Monday, March 23, 1998

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Widespread uncertainty among store owners has forced this upstate city to postpone enforcement of a new law that cracks down on tobacco advertising.

Albany’s “Youth Protection Against Tobacco Promotion Act” was to force businesses to remove colored cigarette ads from windows, doorways and sidewalks or risk a fine of up to $1,000. Set to take effect today, the law is meant to shield children from the $6.2 billion cigarette advertising industry.

The law is one of the few of its kind in the country.

But City Clerk Nancy Anderson said in Sunday’s Albany Times-Union that enforcement of the law has been delayed until April 1 in order to mail details of the law to more than 230 licensed tobacco vendors in the city.

The law limits tobacco ads to black-and-white text. And businesses within 1,000 feet of any school, playground or other areas frequented by children face stricter regulations: only one black-and-white sign inside the shop, and no selling or giving away non-tobacco products with tobacco names and logos.

The 3,500-member New York State Association of Convenience Stores complained that the ordinance is too broad and denies free speech. The group is expected to decide in the next few days whether to take legal action.

Related stories:

  • New York city council bans colorful storefront tobacco ads 3.16.98