ALBANY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Saturday announced a proposal to raise the minimum sales age for tobacco and electronic cigarette products from 18 to 21 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, which also calls for an end to the sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products in pharmacies and clarifies the State Health Department's authority to ban the sale of certain flavored e-cigarette liquids, among other measures.
"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."
To combat the use of harmful tobacco and vapor products, Governor Cuomo will propose comprehensive legislation that includes:
Raising the minimum sales age for tobacco and electronic cigarette products from 18 to 21;
Ending the sale of tobacco and electronic cigarette products in pharmacies;
Implements display restrictions;
Clarifies the Health Department's Authority to ban the sale of certain flavored e-cigarette liquids;
Restricting discounts on tobacco and vapor products will strengthen the impact of New York's tax on tobacco and disincentivize tobacco use; and
Require e-cigarettes be sold only through licensed retailers
Since Cuomo's election, New York State has moved from the 18th healthiest state in the nation in 2012 to the 10th healthiest state in the nation in 2017. In 2017, Governor Cuomo expanded the Clean Indoor Air Act to prohibit e-cigarette use in nearly every workplace to protect workers and the public from harmful secondhand tobacco smoke and vaping aerosols.
Despite this progress, tobacco use continues to be the number one cause of preventable death in New York State. About 28,000 adult New Yorkers die every year as a result of smoking. Additionally, an increasing number of underage youth are using both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes. From 2014 to 2018 youth use of e-cigarettes increased by 160 percent from 10.5 percent to 27.4 percent and more than half of teens falsely believe that e-cigarette use is harmless.
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."