Tobacco companies ordered to tell customers about health risks

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) - Many people already know of the health risks associated with smoking cigarettes, but now under court-order, tobacco industries must tell their customers the same thing.

“The tobacco industry is deceptive and you know what it’s time to stop their influence in New York,” Julie Hart, New York Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said.

For years, groups like the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network have fought to warn the public about the dangers of smoking. And thanks to a federal court ruling they are now going to get help spreading that message by the tobacco industry itself.

Starting later this week, ads on television and in newspapers will warn people about smoking and its addictive qualities. The ads will be paid for by tobacco industry and will be required to run for about a year.

“To serve as a reminder that this is something they should not be doing, a strong deterrent for them and for lawmakers to implement policies.”

One of these policies is to change the law so people will have to be at least 21 to buy cigarettes.  This is already a law in a few New York counties, including Albany, but Assemblyman John McDonald (D-Cohoes) says he worries about what this is doing to small business owners.

“I have a merchant in Cohoes that is right up to the border in Saratoga County and he is losing all this business because people are going to Saratoga County,” Assemblyman McDonald said.

As a healthcare professional, Assemblyman McDonald says that while he hopes people choose to not smoke, that decision ultimately should be left up to them. He does believe this is something that should be decided soon on a statewide level.

“This county by county-by-county solution is really aggravating the business community and therefore at the end of the day the call for a statewide solution has some sense.”

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