21-03
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The Tobacco 21 initiative continues to expand.

Niagra County, N.Y., and Alachua County, Fla., have become the latest communities considering the increase of the legal age for purchasing vapor and tobacco products to 21 years old, according to multiple reports.

“Younger people are more susceptible to nicotine and more likely to get hooked when they try it,” said Dr. Andrew Hyland, who leads the tobacco control program at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. “The tobacco 21 policy pushes that age a little bit further, (so that) fewer young people will get hooked.”

If legislators agree to move forward with the proposal, Niagra County would join Cattaraugus County, Chautauqua County and New York City as Tobacco 21 communities.

Florida lawmakers staged a meeting Oct. 23 and listened to anti-smoking groups such as Tobacco 21 and Tobacco Free Alachua laud the age increase proposal. A meeting will be scheduled in the near future to vote on the initiative, according to fox35orlando.com.

“We absolutely support the idea of moving this to a public hearing so that even more members of our community can come and speak to why this is important to them,” Tobacco Free Alachua Chair Victoria Gibney was quoted as saying.

If passed by commissioners, the new law will take about six months to go into effect. Also, a provision likely will be included, providing individual cities an option to opt out of the policy, pending commission approval.

Health Care Advisory analyzed data from both the retail and user sides of the debate. Chairman Brendan Shortley wanted to make it clear the advice it provided commissioners was objective.

“We definitely looked at it from both sides,” Shortley said. “We also need to remind everybody (that) we looked at it from the business side, and from the user side.”

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