From 18 to 21.
That’s the age you now have to be in New York State’s Westchester County to legally purchase tobacco products.
Could we be witnessing a national trend?
According tobaccofreekids.org, California, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and Oregon have already legislated the step, along with 320 localities, including Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York City and San Antonio.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer signed the Westchester smoking age increase bill into law, which includes tobacco, vaping, and electronic devices. The Westchester County indoor smoking ban was amended to include vaping.
“Somebody today is going to find it harder to get that tobacco product because of this law,” Latimer said via press release. “And because it’s harder for them to get it now, somewhere 50 years down the road they’ll have aged without picking up the habit.”
One in a series of legislation designed to curb smoking habits of minors in New York State, the Westchester County ordinance will take effect this summer, according to a release.
Last year, state lawmakers initiated an amendment to the Clean Indoor Air Act to include vaping devices. The act already banned cigarettes from establishments such as bars and restaurants.
Gov. Mark Cuomo signed a bill last August to prevent free, promotional vaping products from being distributed during public events.
The state also seeks to legislate a state-wide ban on flavored e-liquids.
Meanwhile, spurned by the efforts of organizations like tobaccofreekids.org, more communities are reviewing initiatives like Westchester smoking age increase to see if they’d work in their own areas.
It’s easy to foreshadow this issue becoming a national priority over the next few years.