Governor signs legislation to raise tobacco, e-cigarette sales age from 18 to 21 in New York


ALBANY, N.Y. (July 16, 2019) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.2833/A.558) to raise the minimum sales age for tobacco and electronic cigarette products from 18 to 21. This legislation builds on the governor's comprehensive efforts to combat health threats from tobacco and e-cigarette products. The bill will take effect 120 days after becoming law.

"New York is taking aggressive action to stamp out smoking among teens and children, but tobacco and e-cigarette use still persists, thanks to irresponsible corporate marketing campaigns targeting young people," Cuomo said. "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."

Under the governor's leadership, New York state has moved from the 18th healthiest state in the nation in 2012 to the 10th healthiest state in the nation in 2017. The governor expanded the Clean Indoor Air Act in 2017 to prohibit e-cigarette use in nearly every workplace to protect workers and the public from harmful secondhand tobacco smoke and vaping aerosols.

Despite this progress, tobacco use continues to be the No. 1 cause of preventable death in New York state. About 28,000 adult New Yorkers die every year as a result of smoking.

Additionally, an increasing number of underage youths are using both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes. From 2014 to 2018, use of e-cigarettes among youths increased by 160 percent from 10.5 percent to 27.4 percent, and more than half of teens falsely believe that e-cigarette use is harmless.

Because tobacco use persists among youth and adults, New York state continues working to prevent young adults from picking up the smoking habit.

According to the Surgeon General, 88 percent of adult smokers started using tobacco before age 18, and 90 percent of the people who purchase cigarettes for minors are between the ages of 18 and 20. By raising the legal purchase age to 21, this legislation will help to prevent underage children from obtaining tobacco products from their friends, reducing the likelihood that young adults ever start smoking and become addicted, and ultimately save thousands of lives.


(Governor’s Press Office)