© 2022 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Hyland: Raising the age for tobacco to 21 is "an important, sensible first step"


New York has now raised the minimum age to buy tobacco and electronic cigarettes to 21 years old, from 18. The law, which went into effect today, "is going to save thousands of lives," said Dr. Andrew Hyland, Chair of the Department of Health Behavior for Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The goal of the new law, officials say, is to prevent addictive cigarette and vaping products from getting to young people.

The New York Department of Health says nearly 40 percent of 12th grade students and 27 percent of high school students are now using e-cigarettes. They say the increase is largely driven by flavored e-liquids.

"It's not going to cure everything, but it's an important, sensible step to decrease the accessibility of an addictive product," Hyland told WBFO.

"That means less addiction, less disease down the road. So, it really is a tremendous public health benefit."

The Surgeon General says 88% of adult smokers started using tobacco as minors and 90% of those who purchase cigarettes for minors are between 18 and 20 years old.

The Cuomo administration has pushed to outlaw flavored e-cigarettes, but a court has blocked that ban.

"Fifteen, 16 or 17 states, perhaps, now have adopted Tobacco 21," Hyland said.

"I think it reflects changing norms that using an addictive, harmful product just doesn't make sense." 


Monday - Friday, 6 a.m. - 10 a.m.
The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.