Gov. Cuomo says he will sign bill raising tobacco, e-cig sales age

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week he will sign a bill increasing the state's minimum age to buy tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21.

The New York state Department of Health reports e-cigarette use among high schoolers is steadily increasing. Between 2014 and 2018, the rate increased by 160 percent.

Carissa Mazzeo, of POW'R Against Tobacco – a program associated with the American Lung Association – says ads and social media posts aimed at teens are partially to blame.

"[The] youth know cigarettes are bad. You can ask any teenager on the street. However, when it comes to e-cigarettes, they're not as knowledgeable because this is a new, emerging product."

E-cigarette manufacturers JUUL and Altria support raising the age. In a statement, JUUL CEO Kevin Burns said, "We cannot fulfill our mission to provide the world's 1 billion adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes if youth-use continues unabated."

Altria similarly saying, "Kids shouldn't use any tobacco products and we share the FDA's concerns with youth use of e-vapor. We remain committed to being part of the solution."

Opponents say if you can get married, register to vote or enlist in the military at the age of 18, you should also be allowed to buy tobacco products.

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