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New York State tobacco and e-cigarette sales age may be going up to 21

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Posted at 12:00 PM, Jan 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-12 23:20:46-05

NEW YORK, N.Y. (WKBW) — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a proposal to raise the minimum sales age for tobacco and e-cigarette products from 18-years-old to 21-years-old will be included in the 2019 executive budget.

The proposal is part of the Governor's comprehensive legislation to curb tobacco and e-cigarette products.

"We have made great strides to stamp out teen smoking, but new products threaten to undo this progress to the detriment of millions of Americans. In New York, we refuse to stand idly by while unscrupulous businesses target our young people and put their very futures at risk," Governor Cuomo said. "With this comprehensive proposal, we are taking aggressive action to combat this very real public health crisis and curb the use of nicotine products before they result in deadly consequences for an entire generation of New Yorkers."

The comprehensive legislation will include:

  • Raising the minimum sales age for tobacco and e-cigarette products from 18 to 21.
  • Ending the sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products in pharmacies.
  • Implementing restrictions on the display of tobacco products and packaging in retail stores that are not adult-only.
  • Clarification on the Health Department's Authority to ban the sale of certain flavored e-cigarette liquids that are more attractive to the youth.
  • Restricting available discounts provided by tobacco and e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers.
  • A requirement that e-cigarettes be sold only through licensed retailers.

According to a release, tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death in New York State.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "New York State, under Governor Cuomo's leadership, continues to fight the epidemic of nicotine addiction and this important legislation will further safeguard New Yorkers from the adverse health effects associated with exposure to tobacco products, especially among our youth."

Roswell Park President and CEO Candace S. Johnson, PHD, voiced her support for the Governor's proposal Saturday:

“The governor’s proposal is an important opportunity to save lives and protect New York State residents, from the youngest to the oldest. Cigarettes are a burden on society like no other commercial product, costing the U.S. $300 billion in health care expenditures and killing more than 480,000 people every year. Tobacco is the only consumer product that when used as intended will kill nearly half of its users and expose anyone nearby to the same dangers. It’s both a moral and a practical imperative for us to embrace these policies as a community because they are the best way to restrict access to tobacco and put an end to retail practices that are luring children to become new smokers. We applaud the governor for this effort.”

Kaleida Health president and CEO Jody L. Lomeo also released a statement early Saturday afternoon regarding the Governor's proposal:

“As partners in Great Lakes Cancer Care of Western New York, we applaud the Governor for his efforts to curb smoking and the sale of tobacco products. Unfortunately, our nurses and doctors see the devastating effects of nicotine addiction every day in our hospitals, oncology clinics and emergency rooms. So, we are hopeful that this legislation will make an impact and reduce the exposure of tobacco across Western New York. We are particularly pleased to see the push for stronger restrictions on the sale of flavored e-cigarette liquids. Vaping and e-cigarettes are a growing problem in our community, especially with youth and teens. Oishei Children’s Hospital is proud to lend its support to the Governor and the State Department of Health in this important fight.”