NEW YORK - Following New York City's lead, state lawmakers have taken up the cause to raise the minimum age for cigarette purchases from 18 to 21 statewide.
State Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal announced the legislation at a news conference Sunday in New York City. The bill was introduced on Friday.
If passed, New York would become the first state to raise the minimum age to buy cigarettes to 21. Four states and some communities have increased the age to 19, and at least two towns have agreed to raise it to 21.
Savino says "anything we can do to stop young people from starting is a step in the right direction."
A hearing on the city's proposal to raise the minimum age to 21 is scheduled for May 2.