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Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress
On April 1, 2019, the Democrat-controlled New York Senate passed legislation Monday putting the state a step closer to joining seven others where the legal age for the sale cigarettes and electronic cigarettes has been raised from 18 to 21. The state Assembly, also controlled by Democrats, passed its own legislation last month.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has signaled he will sign the bill, which will raise the legal sales age for tobacco products to 21.
Championed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the law was an unprecedented and exemplary move by such a large city. The nation immediately took notice, and since dozens of large cities have followed suit. By 2018, 22 municipalities in New York had also raised their tobacco and nicotine age, covering 75% of the state. The state also has the highest per pack tax in the nation, at $4.35, which likely also contributes to their well below national average rate of high school smoking, and representative national average rate of adult smoking.
Unfortunately, the state only spends 20.9% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention. An estimated 280,000 children now under the age of 18 will eventually die early due to smoking, with 6,900 children becoming daily smokers each year. The result is an annual health care cost of $10.39 billion that is directly caused by smoking, and an additional $7.33 billion in lost productivity.
There is no preemption language present in state law keeping localities from raising the Minimum Legal Sales Age (MLSA) to 21. Local governments are free to enact ordinances to better protect their kids from addiction. It has been our experience that the most powerful incentive for the state legislature to act is the initiative of local citizens and governmental leaders.
For More Information, Please Contact:
- Karen Blumenfeld
- Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy (GASP)
- Executive Director
- Shannon Quinby
- Tobacco 21
- Eastern Regional Director
- Kevin O’Flaherty
- Tobacco Free Kids
- Played a direct role in shaping NYC’s historic T21 legislation.
Director Northeastern Region
- Kevin Schroth
- NYC Department of Health
- New York Tobacco 21 Local Partner
Other Helpful Resources:
Tobacco Free Kids New York
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.
American Lung Association State Report Card
The ALA ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2014.
SLATI State Information New York
SLATI (State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues) is an extensively researched and invaluable source of information on tobacco control laws and policy, and is the only up-to-date and comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws.