The Schuyler County Coalition on Underage Drinking and Drugs (SCCUDD) and Schuyler County Public Health are working to raise the legal sale age of tobacco products from 18 to 21 in Schuyler County.

The organizations, along with their local partners Schuyler Hospital and Arnot Health, are seeking to decrease tobacco use in both adults and teens. According to experts, ninety-five percent (95%) of adults who currently smoke start before age 21. 

23.3% of people in Schuyler County use some form of tobacco products, which is seven percentage points above the New York State average. More than half of high schoolers get them from a friend, while 95 percent of people who buy cigarettes for minors are under age 21. 

The groups are hoping to change these trends with one new law. 

“Simply by raising the age of purchase to 21, we could reduce tobacco use among teenagers, who are especially vulnerable to the addictive effects of nicotine,” said Schuyler County Public Health Director Marcia Kasprzyk. 

Many communities across the United States have acted already, including both Tompkins and Cortland Counties, which have passed legislation to raise the age to 21. 

If you want to join the effort and learn more about how to sign an online petition or send a letter of support for Tobacco 21, visit http://www.schuylercounty.us/923/Tobacco-Policies.