Report: New York City 'Oversaturated' With Tobacco Retailers

NEW YORK — Starbucks may seem to be everywhere, but according to a new report tobacco retailers outnumber the coffee chain sites in New York City.

A new report by the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) has found that here are nearly 9,000 licensed tobacco retail outlets citywide. The number of licensed tobacco retail outlets citywide is three times more than the total number of the top 10 corporate chain stores combined, three and a half times more than the number of pizzerias, three times more than the number of public, private, charter and parochial schools, and 29 times more than the number of Starbucks in New York City, according to the group.

Citywide there is a licensed tobacco retail outlet every five blocks or 1,312 feet. Broken out by borough, the 8,992 stores licensed to sell tobacco citywide include 2,725 in Brooklyn; 2,196 in Manhattan; 2,117 in Queens; 1,542 in The Bronx; and 412 on Staten Island as of Oct. 1.

According to the report, Midtown and Lower Manhattan, parts of The Bronx and a majority of Brooklyn are home to the highest density of tobacco retail outlets. 

Manhattan leads the city in the rate of tobacco retail outlets with 13 per 10,000 people, followed by The Bronx (11 per 10,000 people), Brooklyn (11 per 10,000 people), Queens (nine per 10,000 people) and Staten Island (nine per 10,000 people).

"There is simply too much tobacco in New York City," said Michael Davoli, the group's director of government relations. "In far too many neighborhoods, tobacco retailers can be found on nearly every corner and every block. And widespread availability of tobacco in our communities dangerously normalizes tobacco use."

The ACS CAN has recommended five steps the city should take to address the oversaturation of tobacco in the five boroughs:

  1. Establish a cap on retail tobacco licenses
  2. Restrict access near youth-service entities
  3. Restrict retail outlet proximity to each other
  4. Restrict all tobacco sales in pharmacies
  5. Extend licensing requirements to include other tobacco products like electronic cigarettes

To read the report, click here.

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