Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed the legislation that increases the age for buying tobacco and e-cigarettes in New York State.

Starting November 13, the age to legally purchase tobacco and e-cigarette products in New York goes from 18 to 21.

photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News

The Democrat says the goal is to prevent cigarettes and vaping products from getting into the hands of young people, fueling addiction.

The Governor’s office cites figures from the Department of Health indicating close to 40 percent of 12th grade students and 27 percent of high school students in New York State currently use e-cigarettes, with the number of high schoolers using the products 160 percent higher in 2018 than it was in 2014.  The Governor blames the increase largely on flavored e-liquids but the availability of vaping products was not as prevalent in earlier years as now.

The Health Department says the smoking rate in New York high school students dropped from 27 percent in 2000 to 4.3 percent in 2016.

On the enforcement end, New York State Police will partner with the Department of Health to conduct undercover operations across the state looking for retailers selling to underage youth.