The proposal would also end the sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products in pharmacies in New York State. Major chains like CVS have already halted the sale of tobacco products in their stores. A new law banning pharmacies from selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in New York City went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. It also includes supermarkets and big box stores with a pharmacy department.
Cuomo on Saturday announced he would raise the tobacco age from 18 to 21 as part of his spending plan that is scheduled to be unveiled on Tuesday.
He said the proposed legislation would ban sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products in pharmacies, restrict their display in retail stores that are not adult-only and require that e-cigarettes be sold only by licensed retailers.
“We have made great strides to stamp out teen smoking, but new products threaten to undo this progress to the detriment of millions of Americans. In New York, we refuse to stand idly by while unscrupulous businesses target our young people and put their very futures at risk,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“With this comprehensive proposal, we are taking aggressive action to combat this very real public health crisis and curb the use of nicotine products before they result in deadly consequences for an entire generation of New Yorkers.”
“New display restrictions will also be proposed for tobacco packaging and products. At the same time, the move will clarify regulations for flavored e-cigarette liquids and require that e-cigarette products are sold through licensed retailers,” he added.
Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said that Gov. Cuomo is correct in calling youth smoking and e-cigarette use a “very real public health crisis” and highlighting the need to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic before it reverses decades of progress in reducing youth tobacco use. “We support his call for strong actions that will allow New York to comprehensively address the youth e-cigarette epidemic.”
New York would be the seventh state to raise the tobacco age to 21 (following California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon) and the second (joining Massachusetts) to end the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies. To date, at least 25 New York counties and cities have raised the tobacco age to 21, underscoring the strong support for doing so.
“Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in New York, killing over 28,000 residents and costing the state $10.4 billion in health care expenses each year. While the high school smoking rate in New York has fallen to 5.5%, the e-cigarette use rate is 14.5%. New York has made impressive strides in fighting tobacco use under Gov. Cuomo’s leadership. His latest proposals will continue this progress and help create the first tobacco-free generation,” Myers added.