Heart Association urges Westchester County to raise age for tobacco, nicotine purchases to 21

Studies show the higher age will reduce the number of first-time, young smokers

This week, Westchester County will vote on raising the the age to purchase cigarettes, tobacco products, liquid nicotine, or electronic cigarettes to 21. The American Heart Association strongly supports this proposal.

 The law would prohibit the sale of cigarettes, tobacco products, liquid nicotine, or electronic cigarettes to minors and young adults under the age of 21.

“It’s imperative that we raise the age to purchase tobacco, tobacco and nicotine products to 21,” said Caitlin O’Brien, New York State government relations director for the American Heart Association, “We hope the county executive signs the bill without delay.”

“Studies have shown that raising the tobacco sale age to 21 will significantly reduce the number of teens and young adults who start smoking,” O’Brien said. “It will also reduce smoking-caused deaths.”

Smoking is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the No. 1 and No. 5 causes of death in the United States. More than half a million people in New York have a disease caused by smoking, resulting in about $8.17 billion in health care expenditures annually. An estimated 24,500 New Yorkers die of smoking-related deaths each year, according to the AHA.

“New York continuously leads the nation in pursuit of quality tobacco control, like with our high tobacco tax and clean indoor air policies,” O’Brien said. “Westchester has an opportunity to further ensure the good health of its residents by making this deadly habit unavailable to our youth.”

The American Heart Association invites members of the community support voice support of this legislation and other health policies to by joining www.yourethecure.org.

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