New York Governor Signs Tobacco Purchasing Age Increase Bill

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A bill that will make the minimum age to purchase tobacco products 21-years-old in New York has been signed into law today by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The bill, AB 558, was passed by the Assembly in March and the Senate in April, but hadn’t been sent to the governor until today, where he promptly signed it.

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Beyond just raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco and tobacco alternatives such as e-cigarettes, the bill also changes some laws regarding private clubs and the minimum age of membership, as well as exemptions for things such as trade shows and conventions, as well as events sponsored by tobacco companies.

The increase is set to go into effect 120 days from today, which would be Nov. 13.

Gov. Cuomo had called for the increase to be approved by the legislature back in Jan. 2019, one of five prongs to reduce tobacco use in the state. As well as the increase, the governor called for the legislature to pass bills that:

  • ban the sale of tobacco and e-cigarettes in pharmacies,
  • ban the display of tobacco products and packaging, including e-cigarettes, in all retail stores that are not restricted to adults,
  • clarify the Health Department’s authority to ban the sale of certain flavored e-cigarette liquids,
  • restrict available discounts provided by tobacco and electronic cigarette manufacturers and retailers, such as “buy one, get one free” offers,
  • require that e-cigarettes be sold only through licensed retailers

“By raising the smoking age from 18 to 21, we can stop cigarettes and e-cigarettes from getting into the hands of young people in the first place and prevent an entire generation of New Yorkers from forming costly and potentially deadly addictions,” Cuomo said via a press release.

New York joins more than a dozen other states around the country in enacting such an increase to the minimum age to purchase tobacco products.

Featured image via Gov. Cuomo’s Flickr.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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