Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wants to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco and electronic cigarette products from 18 to 21 and will include the change in his upcoming state budget proposal.
The change will be part of a package of legislation that would end the sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products in pharmacies and clearly authorize the State Health Department to ban the sale of certain flavored e-cigarette liquids. If approved, the state also would prohibit the display of tobacco products and packaging, including e-cigarettes, in retail stores that are not adult-only.
Bills to raise the age to buy tobacco have been presented in other years but never won full legislative approval. About a quarter of New York's counties, however, have already set the age at 21.
The American Lung Association praised the Cuomo proposals.
"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 written statement, which noted that tobacco use is the leading cause of death in New York.
"With this comprehensive proposal," he said, "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."