New York City

New York’s Smoking Age Goes Up Next Week

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Adults under 21 won't be able to buy vape pods or a pack of smokes in about a week, Gov. Cuomo's office reminded on Monday.

That's because the state's minimum age to buy tobacco and electronic cigarette products will be raised from 18 to 21 on Nov. 13. The measure was passed into law earlier this year.

“We are taking aggressive action to make sure the decades of progress we've made to combat tobacco addiction is not undone by a sharp rise in e-cigarette use among younger New Yorkers,” Cuomo said.

According to the Department of Health data released by Cuomo's office, 40 percent of 12th grade students and 27 percent of high school students in New York state are using e-cigarettes. 

Even though the smoking rate in New York’s high school has dropped at a record low of 4.3 percent in 2016, Cuomo's office said aggressive marketing promoting flavored e-cigarettes began to shift the use of these products. Flavors include bubblegum, cherry cola, and mint chocolate, creating a belief that these products are not harmful to users.

Cuomo's office said state police have partnered with the Department of Health to conduct undercover investigations across the state. 1,700 have occurred since July outside of New York City.

Retailers found selling tobacco and vaping products to underaged individuals will now face criminal penalties in addition to civil penalties.

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