The minimum age to purchase tobacco products throughout the state of New York is now 21-years-old after legislation went into effect today that sees the Empire State join the Tobacco 21 movement.

The increase came as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call to improve the health of New Yorkers by way of reducing tobacco usage, a five-pronged approach that includes banning 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; clarifying 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; and requiring that e-cigarettes be sold only through licensed retailers

AB 558 was passed by the Assembly in March and the Senate in April, but it wasn’t until mid-July that the governor signed it into law. No formal reason was given for the delay. In addition to the purchasing age increase, the bill changes some laws regarding private clubs and the minimum age of membership, as well as exemptions for things such as trade shows and conventions, and events sponsored by tobacco companies.

The Tobacco 21 movement will get at least two additional members in the new year, as Washington’s increase will go into effect on Jan. 1  and Utah’s on July 1.

Overall Score

Avatar photo

Patrick Lagreid

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 previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.