The pieces are starting to fall into place.
Saratoga County is considering joining a growing number of other counties in the state — including two of those with whom it shares a border (Schenectady and Albany counties) — to raise the minimum purchase age for tobacco products to 21.
It’s a common-sense health initiative that’s becoming more acceptable by the minute, and Saratoga County should make itself the next 21-and-over county on the New York map.
While they more counties and municipalities around the state are passing similar legislation, state lawmakers and the governor should see the writing on the wall and pass a 21-year purchase age for the entire state.
The reason this is becoming more popular, both in New York counties and nationwide, is because of a growing body of knowledge about the impacts of smoking at an early age.
In this country, 10,600 children become smokers each year, and 90 percent of smokers start smoking before the age of 18, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 280,000 smokers currently under the age of 18 will eventually die from a smoking-related illness.
Studies, including one conducted in 2015 by the Institute of Medicine National Academy of Sciences, have shown clear evidence that the later one is exposed to tobacco products, the less likely one is to take up the habit later in life.
As raising the drinking age to 21 did for underage drinking, raising the tobacco purchase age to 21 will help reduce exposure to students in high school and younger.
While it might be common for a high school junior or senior to hang out with an…
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