Tobacco 21 is an amendment to raise the age to purchase tobacco products from eighteen to twenty-one. Ten counties including: Albany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Cortland, Onondaga, Orange, Schenectady, Suffolk, Sullivan, Tompkins, and New York City have passed this amendment in New York State.
The reasons behind Tobacco 21 in Allegany County:
- Tobacco products contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance and changes how the adolescent brain develops.
- The average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13 years old.
- The earlier someone starts smoking the harder it is to quit and can lead to other drug use in the future.
- Smoking among high schoolers in Allegany County is 8.2%, which is higher than the New York State average of 4.7%.
- Almost ¼ of high school students reported use of some form of a tobacco product eg (Cigarettes, Chew, Cigars, Cigarillos, E-cigarettes).
- The 2013-2014 BRFS Report states that Allegany County has the sixth highest smoking rate among adults in New York State.
- Cancer is the highest cause of death in Allegany County followed by heart disease, stroke and lower respiratory disease, which are all can be caused by tobacco use.