If passed, New York would become the first state to raise the minimum age to buy cigarettes to 21. Four states and some communities have increased the age to 19, and at least two towns have agreed to raise it to 21.
A similar proposal has been floated in the Texas Legislature, but it's on hold after a budget board estimated it would cost the state more than $42 million in cigarette tax revenue over two years.
On the WBEN Liveline.
The following interview will be placed online here after being heard on-air
8:20 - Andrew Hyland, Chair of Health Behavior at Roswell Park Cancer Inst.
Does the measure have any hope of passage?
A local assemblyman says he would not object to a bill raising the minimum age to buy cigarettes to 21, but would need to take a closer look at the bill.
"Generally, I would support a bill that promotes health," says Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak. "
You would hope this would reduce cigarette use, but there are those who would go to the reservation to buy cigarettes."
Gabryszak notes there's a possible economic side effect. "We could see less sales tax revenue as a result," observes Gabryszak, who says that could be countered by less cigarette-related health care costs.
State Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal announced the legislation at a news conference Sunday in New York City. The bill was introduced on Friday.
Under federal law, no one under 18 can buy tobacco anywhere in the country. Four states and some localities have raised the age to 19, and at least two communities have agreed to raise it to 21
A new proposal would increase the threshold from 18, a federal minimum that is the standard in many places.
A spokesman for the NYS Association of Convenience Stores suggested the measure would simply drive younger smokers to neighboring communities or even reservation-based sellers.
"Not only would you be able to continue to buy cigarettes on Indian reservations,k but you would be able to buy them from people on the street, from people with vans that smuggle them in from other states.," says James Calvin, the association's executive director.
"The black market is flourishing and that's because New York State has made it so lucrative, for criminals to obtain cigarettes elsewhere and sell them in New York State," Calvin says
How Young Do People Start Smoking?
The use rate among teenagers, very young people are very low, but where you do see the highest rates are as they age, in that young adult group, and I think a lot of it involves the tobacco company marketing, where they have shifted from that group and now are targeting a little older, " says Andrew Hyland, the chair of behavioral health at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.
" Ratcheting it up to a few years try and keep it out of the hands of younger people and let them make a free choice to use those products when they are at an older age, makes a lot of sense from a public health standpoint.
If you are looking at cigarette smoking, 440,00 people a year die, right here in New York 25,000 people die each year. It is just a deadly addictive product and efforts to reduce its use should be commensurate with the amount of danger it poses. "
-- Andrew Hyland, Chair of Behavioral Health, Roswell Park Cancer Inst.
from the US Centers for Disease Control
Nearly a quarter of high school students in the U.S. smoke cigarettes. Another 8% use smokeless tobacco. Smoking has many health risks for everyone. However, the younger you are when you start smoking, the more problems it can cause. For example:
Parents and other adults who work with children can help by warning them of the risks of smoking. They can also set a good example by not smoking themselves.