Studies show the higher age will reduce the number of first-time, young smokers

This week, the Orange County Health & Mental Health Committee unanimously passed the “T21” bill proposed by Orange County Legislator James DiSalvo, which would raise the age to purchase cigarettes, tobacco products, liquid nicotine, or electronic cigarettes to 21. The Rules Committee also passed the bill which means the bill will go to the full Legislature for a vote on December 1st. The American Heart Association strongly supports this proposal.18-2

 The law would prohibit the sale of cigarettes, tobacco products, liquid nicotine, or electronic cigarettes to minors and young adults under the age of 21.

“It’s imperative that we raise the age to purchase tobacco, tobacco and nicotine products to 21,” said Kristin Salvi, New York State government relations director for the American Heart Association.

“Studies have shown that raising the tobacco sale age to 21 will significantly reduce the number of teens and young adults who start smoking,” Salvi said. “It will also reduce smoking-caused deaths.”

“Smoking is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the No. 1 and No. 5 causes of death in the United States. More than half a million people in New York have a disease caused by smoking, resulting in about $8.17 billion in health care expenditures annually. An estimated 24,500 New Yorkers die of smoking-related deaths each year,” said Jonathan Schiller, AHA Heart Walk Chair, and Chief Operating Office at Orange Regional Medical Center.

“New York continuously leads the nation in pursuit of quality tobacco control, like with our high tobacco tax and clean indoor air policies,” Salvi said. “One hundred localities nationwide have raised the age for tobacco sales to 21. Orange County’s smoking rate is still 15%, and the Orange County Legislature has an opportunity to further ensure the good health of its residents by making this deadly habit unavailable to our youth.”

The American Heart Association invites members of the community support voice support of this legislation to create a healthier community in Orange County by calling their legislators before December 1st. Join www.yourethecure.org to sign up for grassroots action alerts.