ALBANY- County Executive Dan McCoy signed a law that would push the legal age to purchase tobacco products in the county from 18 to 21.
“We all know that tobacco is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States and it is our responsibility to do what we can to help spread the message that smoking is a dead end,” McCoy said in a statement. “By signing this law, we are making a choice to help kids stay away from all tobacco products, not just cigarettes.”
The law, which was passed by the county legislature last month, would also ban the sale of liquid nicotine and e-cigarettes to those under 21.
Health organizations including The American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids have applauded the passage of the law.
“The County Executive has taken a very positive step forward in improving health of all Albany County residents by signing this law,” said Suzie Mookherjee, president of the Capital Region Advisory Board of the American Heart Association.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 80 percent of adult smokers first began smoking by age 18.
Albany is the third county in the state to raise the tobacco buying age, following Suffolk and Chautauqua counties. California recently raised its tobacco buying age to 21, and Massachusetts is pushing to raise the age as well. The new law will take effect immediately after being filed by the state.