New York State Department of Health Announces Newly Required Health Warnings in Tobacco Retail Stores

Features Corrective Statements About Health Effects and Addictiveness of Smoking

Federal Court Order Imposed Corrective Sanctions Can be Viewed Here

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 14, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health announces that newly required tobacco industry corrective statements describing the health effects and addictiveness of smoking started appearing in most tobacco retailers stores throughout the state this summer and are required to be in place for 21 months.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced at the end of last year the resolution of the civil racketeering lawsuit against the largest U.S. cigarette companies. The court order imposed the signage as the last of several corrective remedies ordered by the court since 2017, including a set of ads that were required to run in newspapers and on television, and statements that were attached on cigarette packs. This rounds out steps to hold the tobacco industry accountable for strategies and marketing practices that led to addiction, debilitating disease, and premature death for millions of people. Actions by the industry are estimated to have cost all New Yorkers billions of dollars in health care costs, in addition to lives lost.

"People can handle the truth. People deserve the truth. The court ordered corrective statements appearing at retailers are long overdue, and will support our mission to reduce smoking-related illness such as cancer and heart disease," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "These corrective statements are blunt, well-established truths about the dangers and addictive power of smoking. Big tobacco is not your friend, we are your friend, if you want to quit smoking call 1-866-NY-QUITS, so we can help you."

According to the court order, the corrective statements must be in highly visible locations within the stores, and are designed to be eye-catching and provide truthful information to consumers related to the adverse health effects of smoking; the addictiveness of smoking and nicotine; the lack of health benefits from cigarettes advertised as light or low tar; cigarette companies' manipulation of cigarette design and composition to ensure optimum nicotine delivery; and the adverse health effects of exposure to secondhand smoke.

The corrective statements include the following:

  • Smoking cigarettes causes numerous diseases and on average 1,200 American deaths every day;
  • The nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive and that cigarettes have purposely been designed to create and sustain addiction;
  • So-called light, low-tar and natural cigarettes are just as harmful as regular cigarettes; and
  • Secondhand smoke causes disease and death in people who do not smoke.

View the entire collection of corrective statements, including the Spanish language version here.

The tobacco companies fought these point-of-sale corrective action statements in court for 16 years. The lawsuit was filed in 1999 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In a landmark 2006 judgement, the court found that the cigarette companies had violated civil racketeering laws (RICO) and engaged in a decades-long conspiracy to deceive the American public about the health effects of smoking and their marketing to children. The order applies to defendants Altria, Philip Morris USA Inc. (PM USA) and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJRT) as well as to four cigarette brands owned by ITG Brands LLC (ITG).

New York continues to make progress on tobacco control with policy implementation and public education across the state in all communities. To learn more about how the tobacco companies' insidious marketing practices continue to affect your community, visit

For help with quitting, including counseling and medication, talk to your healthcare provider. For information on how to quit smoking or vaping tobacco or nicotine, the New York State Smokers' Quitline provides free and confidential services that include information, tools, quit coaching, and support in both English and Spanish. Services are available by calling 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487), texting (716) 309-4688, or visiting, for information, to chat online with a Quit Coach, or to sign up for Learn2QuitNY, a six-week, step-by-step text messaging program to build the skills you need to quit any tobacco product.

Individuals aged 13 to 24 can text "DropTheVape" to 88709 to receive age-appropriate quit assistance. The Department of Health continues to provide quitting and cessation support for youth and young adults to receive free, anonymous, and confidential texting services.

More information about the Department's Tobacco Control Program is available here.