I, for one, hope this actually happens.

Governor Cuomo says the state of New York has been making "great strides" to stamp out teen smoking, but it's possible new tobacco and vape products could be setting us back.

He announced Saturday that he will include the proposal for upping the age for purchasing tobacco and vape products from the age of 18 to 21, in his 2019 executive budget. This is what he plans to include, according to the press release:

  • Raising the minimum sales age for tobacco and electronic cigarette products from 18 to 21: Most underage youth obtain tobacco and vapor products from friends, who are over 18 and can legally purchase products. Raising the minimum age will curb youth tobacco use and remove sources of tobacco from high schools.
  • Ending the sale of tobacco and electronic cigarette products in pharmacies: Pharmacies sell tobacco cessation products and pharmaceuticals, and increasingly provide healthcare and health education.  Allowing them to continue to sell tobacco products sends the incorrect message that tobacco products are safe. Ending the sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products in pharmacies will reduce the availability, visibility, and social acceptability of tobacco use, especially to youth.
  • Implements display restrictions: New York will prohibit the display of tobacco products and packaging, including e-cigarettes, in all retail stores that are not adult-only. This practice will reduce youth exposure to predatory marketing practices.
  • Clarifies the Health Department's Authority to ban the sale of certain flavored e-cigarette liquids: Flavored combustible cigarettes, except menthol, were banned by the FDA in 2009 to reduce youth smoking as they were frequently used as a starter product.  Most e-cigarette users said their first e-cigarette was flavored. Flavors, such as sweet tart, toffee, and bubble gum, make e-cigarettes more attractive to youth. The budget will include a proposal to provide the Department of Health the authority to ban the sale of certain flavored liquids that target youth use of e-cigarettes.
  • Restricting available discounts provided by tobacco and electronic cigarette manufacturers and retailers: New York has the highest cigarette tax in the nation, but manufacturers and retailers have developed tactics to reduce prices, such as "buy one, get one free" discounts. These tactics directly target price-sensitive consumers, including youth. Restricting discounts on tobacco and vapor products will strengthen the impact of New York's tax on tobacco and disincentivize tobacco use.
  • Require e-cigarettes be sold only through licensed retailers: Currently the sale of e-cigarettes is almost entirely unregulated. Restricting the sale to licensed retailers will allow the current enforcement infrastructure to ensure that minors do not purchase tobacco products.

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. (Dr. Howard Zucker, New York State Health Commissioner)

Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, the state has moved from the 18th healthiest in the nation in 2012 to the 10th healthiest state in the nation in 2017.

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