Westchester Increases Age to Buy Tobacco, Vaping Products to 21

Westchester Increases Age to Buy Tobacco, Vaping Products to 21

The new law is expected to take effect in 60 days.

Legislators in Westchester county voted to raise the age to buy tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21, according to the Daily Voice. Cigarettes, e-cigarettes, rolling papers, and other smoking paraphernalia will be affected by the new law.

The County Board of Legislators voted 16-1 to increase the minimum age to tobacco and vaping products—only John Testa (R-Peekskill, Cortlandt and Yorktown) voted no. Lawmakers say the new law will reduce the number of new smokers, deter teens from using vaping products, and ultimately decrease the amount of young people addicted to nicotine.

The new measure was signed into law by county executive George Latimer on June 6. It will go into effect 60 days from the date it was enacted.

Though the statewide age to buy tobacco and vaping products is 18, municipalities can choose to increase the age. New York City and several other counties (Cattaraugus, Schenectady, Onondaga, Rockland, and Suffolk) have already increased the age to 21.

“I’m grateful that Westchester County has joined other nearby counties and New York City in increasing the age to purchase tobacco products to 21, which will greatly diminish access to these products among younger people. The research is very clear and compelling: The later a person is exposed to using tobacco and nicotine products, the less likely they are to become addicted. This will have a great, positive impact on individual and public health outcomes,” said Catherine Borgia (D-Briarcliff Manor, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining, Peekskill).