Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy said today that he has decided to veto the Local Law D which would have banned the sale of tobacco at pharmacies and stores with pharmacies in the county. Instead, he has put forth a law which would ban the display of cigarettes at these establishments.
Local Law D was approved, 21-17, by the county legislature in August. Today was the last day McCoy had to make a decision on the matter.
A public hearing on the proposed law was held on Sept. 3.
The sponsor of the bill, Tim Nichols, stated: "We do have 45 days to override. I am considering that as an option but need to discuss this with my colleagues. I would prefer to override as I believe my proposal is legally sound; in fact, the county executive's executive order is not only out of order (he does not have such authority on his own) but also unconstitutional (we cannot order advertising to be covered up). The reason it works in places like Price Chopper is because it is voluntary. So we have work to do. I am not giving up on this important public health measure. I am sure the health advocates like the American Cancer Society will not give up either."
Thursday's story can be found online here.
Below is McCoy's letter to the county legislature's clerk vetoing the bill, and then his executive order for the law banning cigarette displays.
Letter to County Legislature's Clerk:
September 10, 2014
Honorable Paul Devane, Clerk
Albany County Legislature
112 State Street, Room 710
Albany, NY 12207
Dear Mr. Devane,
I hereby transmit, pursuant to Article 3 Section 309 (b)(iii) of the Albany County Charter,
my objections to Local Law D, entitled:
“A LOCAL LAW OF THE COUNTY OF ALBANY, NEW YORK
PROHIBITING THE SALE OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS IN LICENSED
HEALTH CARE INSTITUTIONS, PHARMACIES AND RETAIL
ESTABLISHMENTS CONTAINING A PHARMACY IN ALBANY COUNTY.”
Local Law D was adopted by your Honorable Body on August 11, 2014 and a certified
copy presented to me on August 12, 2014. An executive public hearing was held on September 3,
2014. Following months of debate, numerous meetings with legislators and public hearings, I
have decided to veto Local Law “D”.
Cigarette smoking is a dangerous and lethal activity. I applaud all efforts that reduce the
effects of smoking, especially among the young. I cannot, however, support Local Law D. There
are numerous legal defects among them that Local Law D lacks an enforcing agency, lacks a
collection procedure for fines and lacks the prerequisite licensing law that would allow Albany
County to regulate cigarette sales. Additionally, it is my belief that, even if these legal flaws
were addressed, its effect would be to redirect consumers to stores without pharmacies.
I applaud CVS’s decision to voluntarily remove tobacco products from its stores. In fact,
I urge all stores that have a pharmacy to voluntarily ban the sale of cigarettes. I also urge all
stores that sell cigarettes to restrict the display and placement of cigarettes so that they are not in
view of minors. Toward that end, I have issued an Executive Order directing the County
Attorney to prepare the necessary and appropriate licensure legislation that would include
a ban on the display of tobacco products in pharmacies and in retail stores with
pharmacies. This proposed legislation will shield the product from minors and from those who
may be tempted by the display of tobacco products. Studies suggest that there is an increase of
DANIEL P. MCCOY
COUNTY OF ALBANY
OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE
112 STATE STREET, ROOM 900
ALBANY, NEW YORK 12207-2021
(518) 447-7040 - FAX (518) 447-5589
PHILIP F. CALDERONE, ESQ.
DEPUTY COUNTY EXECUTIVE
EXECUTIVE ORDER AND DIRECTIVE 14-03
ALBANY COUNTY EXECUTIVE DANIEL McCOY
Whereas, tobacco products can lead minors to experimenting with, and potentially
developing a dependence to, this dangerous and lethal activity; and
Whereas, the display of tobacco products has been shown to be one of the most important
factors in whether or not minors try to buy tobacco products; and
Whereas, studies suggest that there is an increase of minors who smoke when they see
tobacco products displayed; and
Whereas, the World Health Organization, the Center for Public Health and Tobacco Policy and
a report of the U.S. Surgeon General have cited a ban on retail tobacco product displays as an effective
method of reducing tobacco use; and
Whereas, Research suggests that preventing the display of tobacco products will lead to a
significant decrease in the number of adolescents becoming addicted to those tobacco products and will
assist individuals in their efforts to quit smoking; Now
THEREFORE, I, Daniel P. McCoy, Albany County Executive, by virtue of the
powers vested in me pursuant to the Albany County Charter and the laws of the
State of New York, HEREBY ORDER AND DIRECT THAT:
The County Attorney prepare the necessary and appropriate legislation that would
ban the display of tobacco products in pharmacies and in retail stores with
pharmacies and present the same to the Legislature.
Dated: 10th day of September 2014
Daniel P. McCoy
Albany County Executive