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In its latest initiative to encourage healthier behavior, particularly among young adults, New York has raised the minimum age to buy cigarettes to 21. Initially signed in November, the law had a six-month waiting period before it went into effect.

Prior to the law change, the legal age to buy cigarettes was 18. The new law applies also to other forms of tobacco and to e-cigarettes also. In April, e-cigarettes were banned in bars and restaurants amongst other places.

A valid ID is now required for proof of age. Before store clerks are able to hand over the cigarettes, shopkeepers have to scan IDs to ensure they are not fakes.

Authorities are hopeful that the new law will encourage cutting the smoking rate among 18 to 20 years by more than half. Recently, Utah and Colorado tried to impose a statewide increase in the tobacco-purchasing age, but both efforts failed to pass.

Pretty much 99 percent of adult smokers become addicted to tobacco before the age of 25, and 90 percent before the age of 18.” So if we can actually delay the time that kids start smoking, they’re much, much less likely to become addicted, said Dr. Abigail Halperin, physician and faculty member in the School of Public Health at the University of Washington.

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