Yes, NY should raise tobacco buying age to 21

To the editor:

I’m very pleased to learn Gov. Cuomo has called for New York to raise the age for the sale of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and tobacco products to 21.

Keeping youth away from tobacco products makes perfect sense. Approximately 95 percent of smokers start this addiction before turning 21. Increasing the age for the sale of tobacco products is a promising strategy as it is far less likely someone will begin this addiction after 21.

I’m far too familiar with a cancer diagnosis, having had cancer in the past. If we can take action now, that will mean our young people will have a future with fewer cancers and less suffering. The time is now to take a stand.

For all New Yorkers, the importance of Tobacco 21 can’t be understated. Tobacco companies are still making huge profits at the expense of many families.

There is hope — recent evidence shows increasing the age for the sale of tobacco products to 21 can put a serious dent in smoking rates. As a result, communities across the state and the country are acting to protect youth by passing a Tobacco 21 policy.

Hopefully New York will do the same. Raising the legal age for the sale of tobacco products to 21 is a logical, sensible step that would better protect our youth. I urge the full legislature to support this action.


Donna Dutton

Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network