Legal age to buy tobacco will increase this month as vaping ban remains in limbo

New age restrictions on purchasing tobacco and electronic cigarette products are taking effect this month as New York’s effort to ban flavored tobacco used for vaping has been delayed amid a court challenge by the industry.

The minimum age for purchasing tobacco and electronic cigarette products will be raised from 18 to 21 beginning November 13, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said on Monday as state lawmakers in New York City hold a hearing on the growing health concerns surrounding vaping.

“The goal of this law is simple – to prevent cigarettes and vaping products from getting into the hands of our youth, creating an addiction to a deadly habit,” Cuomo said. “We are taking aggressive action to make sure the decades of progress we’ve made to combat tobacco addiction is not undone by a sharp rise in e-cigarette use among younger New Yorkers.”

A vaping industry trade group, meanwhile, is pushing back against a ban on flavored e-cigarette tobacco, successfully winning a delay in the implementation of the policy, done through executive action by the governor.

Still, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker in an interview on Friday said the state was pursuing efforts to contend with the health concerns raised by vaping. At least one person has died and others have been sickened in the state, which is believed to be related to vaping induced illnesses.

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