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July marks start of new state renter, tobacco & vaping laws

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law new protections for renters who have trouble paying the bills because of the coronavirus pandemic. July also marks the beginning of a new state law that prohibits discounts on the sale of all tobacco products, including coupons and multipack price promotions.

State Senate Sponsor Brad Hoylman said theTenant Safe Harbor Act prohibits courts from ever evicting residential tenants who experienced financial hardship for non-payment of rent that accrues or becomes due during the COVID-19 period.

That means any unpaid rent accrued between March 7 and the yet-to-be-determined date on which all COVID-related restrictions on non-essential gatherings and businesses are lifted. The law builds upon the current eviction moratorium, which may end sooner than the new law.

According to the NYU Furman Center, more than 1 million renter households in New York State have at least one worker who lost a job due to COVID-19 and of those, about a third are not collecting unemployment benefits.

July 1 also marked the beginning of a new state law that prohibits discounts on the sale of all tobacco products. The law was approved as part of the fiscal year 2021 state budget.

Research has shown that higher tobacco prices are linked to lower smoking rates. Dr. Andrew Hyland, chair of the Department of Health Behavior and head of tobacco control programs at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, notes that the new law is part of long-standing efforts by the state to make tobacco products less appealing and less accessible.

Also taking effect Wednesday was a measure stopping the shipping or delivery of e-cigarettes and vaping products to private residences.

Mark Wozniak, WBFO's local All Things Considered host, has been at WBFO since mid-1978.
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