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Cuomo wants to raise age to buy tobacco, e-cigarettes

Roswell Park, Kaleida Health supportive of measure

January 12, 2019 - 5:52 pm

NEW YORK (WBEN/AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to raise the state's minimum age to buy tobacco and electronic cigarette products from 18 to 21 — to curb their use by younger people.

Cuomo announced Saturday that he will include the proposal in his 2019 executive budget.

The legislation would ban sale of tobacco and electronic 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.

The governor says New York has made "great strides" to stamp out teen smoking, but new products threaten to undo the progress.

Cuomo also wants to clarify the health department's authority to ban the sale of certain flavored e-cigarette liquids, except menthol, that could be popular as a smoking starter product for youth.

Shortly after the proposal from the Governor was announced, Roswell Park released a statement from its President and CEO, Candace Johnson, PhDRoswell .:

The governor’s proposal is an important opportunity to save lives and protect New York State residents, from the youngest to the oldest. Cigarettes are a burden on society like no other commercial product, costing the U.S. $300 billion in health care expenditures and killing more than 480,000 people every year. Tobacco is the only consumer product that when used as intended will kill nearly half of its users and expose anyone nearby to the same dangers. It’s both a moral and a practical imperative for us to embrace these policies as a community because they are the best way to restrict access to tobacco and put an end to retail practices that are luring children to become new smokers. We applaud the governor for this effort.”

Jody L. Lomeo, president and CEO of Kaleida Health said, “As partners in Great Lakes Cancer Care of Western New York, we applaud the Governor for his efforts to curb smoking and the sale of tobacco products.  Unfortunately, our nurses and doctors see the devastating effects of nicotine addiction every day in our hospitals, oncology clinics and emergency rooms. So, we are hopeful that this legislation will make an impact and reduce the exposure of tobacco across Western New York. We are particularly pleased to see the push for stronger restrictions on the sale of flavored e-cigarette liquids.  Vaping and e-cigarettes are a growing problem in our community, especially with youth and teens.  Oishei Children’s Hospital is proud to lend its support to the Governor and the State Department of Health in this important fight.”

Michael Seilback, National Assistant Vice President of State Public Policy for American Lung Association issued a statement praising the move as a bold one for public health:

Smoking kills more than 28,000 New Yorkers per year and costs the state of $10 billion annually. Additionally, the use of e-cigarettes by our youth is an epidemic that demands bold action. The Governor’s thoughtful legislative proposal will save lives, protect countless young people, and save the state in healthcare costs."

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