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New York

Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress – Statewide Bill Tracker

New York is another state that has made significant progress in tobacco prevention. In November of 2013 New York City enacted legislation that raised the age to purchase tobacco products to 21, and also set a minimum price of $10.50 per pack of cigarettes, among other provisions:

New York City Bill Raising Tobacco Age 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.

Recent Updates

  • 10/12/2018 – Putnam County becomes the 25th locality in the state to adopt Tobacco 21. There are now 25 local Tobacco 21 policies representing 74.9% of the state population.

  • 09/07/2018 – Essex County becomes the 24th locality in the state to adopt Tobacco 21. There are now 24 local policies representing 74.4% of the state's population.

  • 6/7/2018 – Ulster County becomes the 23rd locality in the state to adopt Tobacco 21 (effective 1/1/2019)

  • 6/4/2018 – Westchester County becomes the 22nd locality in the state to adopt Tobacco 21 (effective 7/16/2018)

  • 12/06/2017 – Onondaga County becomes the 21st locality in the state to adopt Tobacco 21 (effective 1/1/2018)

  • 05/23/2018 – Nassau County becomes the 20th locality in the state to adopt Tobacco 21

  • 05/10/2018 – New Castle becomes the 19th locality in the state to adopt Tobacco 21

  • 3/20/2018 – Rockland County becomes the 18th locality in the state to adopt Tobacco 21 (effective 4/23/2018)

  • 12/5/2017 – Long Beach becomes the 17th locality in the state to adopt Tobacco 21 (effective March 1, 2018)

  • 8/3/2017 – Port Washington North becomes the 16th locality in the state to adopt Tobacco 21

  • 6/1/2017 – Baxter Estates becomes the 15th locality in the state to adopt Tobacco 21

  • 9/1/2017 – Sullivan County becomes the 14th locality in the state to adopt Tobacco 21

  • 5/3/2017 – Tompkins County becomes the 12th locality in the state to adopt Tobacco 21

  • 1/9/2017Assembly Bill 7479 introduced by Assembly-member Linda Rosenthal. The bill would prohibit using electronic cigarettes in certain places, increase the age of all tobacco products from 18 to 21, & directs the department of health to evaluate the health effects of electronic cigarettes on members of the public.

  • 1/5/2017Assembly Bill 273 introduced by Assembly-member Linda Rosenthal along with 24 other co-sponsors. The bill would raise the minimum legal sales age of tobacco products from 18 to 21 statewide

Show All Updates

For More Information, Please Contact:

  • Kevin O’Flaherty
  • Tobacco Free Kids
  • Played a direct role in shaping NYC’s historic T21 legislation.
    Director Northeastern Region
  • KOflaherty@Tobaccofreekids.Org

Local Partners:

Visit Our 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.


The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids support these four principles for Tobacco 21 ordinances:

  1. Include all tobacco and nicotine products, specifically e-cigarettes. The only exceptions would be FDA recognized nicotine replacement products (gum, patch, etc.) intended for cessation.
  2. Include significant enforcement provisions against illegal sales as research shows that consistent enforcement is of critical importance.
  3. Not include any pre-emption against local authority in more stringent regulation of tobacco or other nicotine product sales, secondhand smoke, or e-cigarette vapor.
  4. Ideally not include possession, usage, or purchase (PUP) penalties that result in criminal records, and instead place the onus on the purveyors of these addictive products.

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