'Raise the Age' movement moves into North Country

Published: Nov. 16, 2017 at 5:31 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Every third Thursday in November is known as the Great American Smokeout. It's a day challenging smokers to make a plan to quit. Many states have thought about raising the smoking age to 21 to help prevent health problems.

If you're looking for the 'good stuff' -- look no further. Plattsburgh's newest tobacco shop is open for business.

Good Stuff's Jennifer Dashno says, "We're 18 and over at this store so that's going to change some of our customer base." She's talking about the 'Raise the Age' movement, which would make the purchase of tobacco products 21 instead of 18. That includes buying cigarettes, rolling papers, lighters, and vapor pens.

"People's brains don't really fully develop until they're 25, so alcohol and drugs -- nicotine in particular -- on the undeveloped brain are very susceptible to addiction," said the Adirondack Health Institute's

Tom Tallon.

According to the American Cancer Society, there's about 36.5 million people who still smoke cigarettes regularly. They say cigarette smoking is down from 42-percent in 1965 to 15-percent in 2015, but smoking other tobacco products is on the rise.

"Among high school students in New York state there's been a doubling of use in e-cigarettes from 10-percent to 20-percent in a short amount of time," Tallon said. In his research, making the legal age 21 could help stop it from getting into schools. "The phenomenon is that a lot of teens under the age of 18 are getting cigarettes from older teens."

If the age does actually change it could impact a lot of people, like Dashno at Good Stuff. "For a little while it may make things a little difficult, but over time, like everything else, people will adjust to the change and things will pick back up and everything will be okay," she said.

Right now 'Raise the Age' has a petition circulating to get the law changed. The town and city of Plattsburgh passed resolutions supporting the move. It would be up to the Clinton County Legislature to make it the law of the land, requiring tobacco purchasers to be 21-years-old.