We are excited to announce legislation that would change NY’s legal sale age of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old has been introduced!
The American Heart Association, along with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Lung Association and our bill sponsors, Senator Diane Savino and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, were all on hand to announce the legislation at a press conference on January 31!
To speak to the importance of this type of legislation, Dr. Suzie Mookherjee, a Cardiologist at Albany Medical Center and board member for the AHA Founders Affiliate, gave a riveting speech about the damage that smoking causes to the body, particularly the heart.
“Smoking is a leading cause of heart disease, the number 1 killer of all Americans,” said Dr. Mookherjee. “If a person doesn’t start smoking before the age of 21, the chance that they will ever start decreases dramatically. This is a deadly habit that costs New Yorker’s $16 billion dollars per year. I urge the State Legislature to protect our youth by passing Tobacco 21 across the state. It is up to us to save young lives.”
Tobacco 21 legislation has already passed in New York City, the Town of North Hempstead on Long Island, as well as Suffolk, Orange, Albany, Schenectady, Cortland, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties. These local Tobacco 21 policies cover more than 54% of New York’s population. Similar legislation has passed Hawaii and California, along with 212 localities nationwide. It’s time for this law to go statwide!
Stay tuned for ways that you can help support this legislation coming soon!