News Archives

Is New Jersey’s 21-and-over tobacco law working?

Researchers at Rutgers University Medical School have received a $3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to examine enforcement of T21 laws in New Jersey and elsewhere.

Christine Delnevo said, “We hope to provide the tobacco control community with that information so that they can pose the best laws to reduce tobacco use among young people.  One of the reasons why ‘Tobacco 21’ policies have been growing is not just because of access among young adults, but minors often get their tobacco products, like they do alcohol, from older friends.


Putnam County considers Tobacco-21

CARMEL – Putnam County Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra is passionate when it comes to banning young people from purchasing tobacco.  The Garrison lawmaker called for the county to join the growing list of counties that ban the sales of tobacco products to persons under the age of 21.

“America has unfortunately not won the war on smoking and tobacco,” she said on Wednesday. “Smoking is a risk factor for numerous cancers. By the end of 2018, nearly 111,000 New Yorkers will learn they have cancer and sadly more than 35,000 of these individuals will lose the battle. Smoking increases the risk for lung cancer, the state’s number one cancer killer.”

Putnam County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Nesheiwat said he was “deeply troubled about the future of the county’s next generation. “The deaths this county will be concerned with that stemmed from teenage smoking will be astronomical because it is a known fact that smoking kills.”

Scuccimarra hopes to approve a Tobacco 21 law for Putnam County at the August 14 meeting of the Health Committee and forward the proposed legislation to the full nine-member body for a vote during its September session.

Massachusetts Poised to Become Sixth State to Raise Tobacco Age to 21

Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, issued a press release thanking Rep. Paul McMurtry and Sen. Jason Lewis for their leadership in sponsoring legislation that prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 and includes other important public health protections.

With final passage by the Legislature today, Massachusetts is poised to become the sixth state to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21.  This legislation will prevent young people in Massachusetts from starting to use tobacco, save lives and help make the next generation tobacco-free.

In addition to raising the tobacco age to 21, the Massachusetts legislation prohibits pharmacies from selling tobacco products and adds e-cigarettes to the state’s smoke-free law. Massachusetts will be the first state to enact a statewide prohibition on tobacco sales in pharmacies. In his press release, Myers highlights the importance of this legislation to Massachusetts:

“In Massachusetts, tobacco kills over 9,300 people and costs over $4 billion in health care expenses each year. Without additional action to reduce tobacco use, over 100,000 kids alive today in Massachusetts will die prematurely from smoking. Increasing the tobacco age to 21 is a critical step in reducing and eventually eliminating tobacco’s terrible toll.”

After two years of debate, Sitka’s tobacco age goes to 21

The age to buy tobacco in Sitka will be going up, if an ordinance passed by the Sitka Assembly this week survives a second reading.

There was broad support for the local initiative — called Tobacco 21 — after the assembly’s concerns were addressed over how to deal with the 19-to-20 year olds who are already hooked on smoking.

Tobacco 21 is a statewide policy in 4 states — Oregon, California, Maine, and New Jersey — and it’s likely to pass the Massachusetts legislature in the near future. Elsewhere around the nation, including Sitka, advocates for increasing the age to purchase tobacco to 21 are concentrating on local policy. The Sitka Health Needs and Human Services commission drafted language to increase the age in Sitka from 19 to 21 in 2016.

Survey Finds E-Cigarettes are Problem in Ridgefield

Even before they surveyed hundreds of residents on the issue, high-schoolers Mitchell van der Noll and Aiden Williams knew e-cigarettes was a growing problem among teenagers in town.

The high school seniors, who distributed the survey as interns with Town Hall this spring, said the number of students using the devices has “exploded” over the last year or two.

Students can be found smoking e-cigarettes in the high school bathrooms, in the parking lots, at parties outside of school and most recently, at the middle schools, they said. Most use the newest device, a Juul vape pen.

“It kind of came out of nowhere,” Williams said. “You can see anyone from any social group using them at kind of any time. If you go into the bathroom at the high school there’s probably a greater than 50 percent chance you would find someone (smoking).”

The survey, distributed on a community Facebook page, revealed that Ridgefielders are taking notice. More than 39 percent of the 240 people surveyed said e-cigarettes surpass alcohol, heroin, marijuana and cocaine as the “most relevant substance abuse problem in our community today.”

About 97 percent said they have heard of the “widespread usage amongst teenagers” and almost 91 percent that they knew about high schoolers vaping in bathrooms during school.