MOUNT MORRIS — On Nov. 13, the legal age to buy tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and vaping devices will be raised to 21. Governor Cuomo signed this into law in July 2019. New York State is now one of 17 states to approve raising the age from 18 to 21.

This decision came after much debate and concern regarding the safety of children and teens. According to the Surgeon General, 88% of adult smokers start using tobacco before the age of 18 and 90% of the people who buy tobacco products for underage children are between 18 and 20.

“This is an important law that will help protect our children from the leading cause of preventable death, initiated by tobacco use,” stated Jennifer Rodriguez, Public Health Director.

The Livingston County Department of Health will continue to be responsible for monitoring and enforcing age restrictions on tobacco sales through the ATUPA program. For questions regarding the Tobacco 21 law, call 585-243-7280.

While the ATUPA program is vital to local tobacco prevention efforts, tobacco dependence treatment also known as smoking cessation for those who want to quit using tobacco products is available. Talk to your health care provider or call 1-866-NYQUITS or visit www.nysmokefree.com to learn more.