Marathon will raise money for Watertown

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s recently proposed tobacco flavor ban and $1 tax increase on cigarettes is shortsighted. Prohibitionist policies and regressive taxes such as this will only hurt small businesses, strengthen the illicit underground market and have no meaningful health impact on adults or children. Additionally, any ban on specific tobacco items while the state is legalizing and expanding retail cannabis sales is contradictory and punitive.

In New York state, more than 13,000 licensed retailers sell flavored tobacco products, employ hundreds of thousands of people and generate more than $1.1 billion in tax revenue annually. In addition to retailers, wholesalers and distributors depend on these sales and the employment associated with them.

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