Modified: April 2, 2019 2:54pm
Erie County, NY- A bill raising the minimum legal age for purchasing tobacco and vaping devices to 21 was passed by the New York State Senate late yesterday. The same measure passed the New York State Assembly on March 6th and will head to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his expected signature.
Erie County Legislator John Bruso is a sponsor of a similar local law, the Youth Health Promotion Act of 2019, that aims to raise the age in Erie County. Nearly 75% of New York State is already under laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco items to anyone under the age of 21, including Chautauqua County. The New York State Senate bill had bipartisan support with both Democratic and Republican sponsors. “This is a step in the right direction”, noted Legislator Bruso, who has been vocal in his support for the legislation to help prevent adolescent addiction. “We should start here to make sure we are giving our children every chance to live long and healthy lives. I am grateful to my colleagues in state government who have prioritized adolescent health and safety. I look forward to continuing the vital and important conversation regarding tobacco and nicotine addiction in our adolescent population and ways to stop or reduce tobacco and vaping use by children and young people.”
In 2018, the Erie County Legislature passed the Public Health Protection Act which banned the sale of tobacco in stores that have or are considered pharmacies while also outlawing smoking in cars with children under 18 and at NFTA bus shelters. Bruso has held several hearings as the Chair of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee aimed at confronting the growing problem of youth vaping. Recently, Legislator Bruso held forum at the Lancaster Opera House which featured a presentation from Kids Escaping Drugs and local school resource officers about vaping that occurs in school, including children in sixth grade. Area school administrators were also in attendance to give testimony about the different vaping devices and substances found in their districts.
A copy of the Youth Health Promotion Act of 2019 can be found here.