Essex County on September 4 became the first North Country county in the state to pass legislation raising the minimum legal sale age for all tobacco products to 21.
The North Country Tobacco Use Reduction Task Force, an undertaking of AHI’s Population Health Improvement Program (PHIP), played an integral role in the legislation’s passage. The group, made up of representatives from more than 35 partner agencies, spent more than a year raising awareness about the prevalence and impact of tobacco use in the region via the It’s Time to Clear the Air in the North Country initiative.
“What a day for Essex County. Raising the sale age from 18 to 21 will reduce the number of young people who initiate tobacco use and the number who suffer the consequences of such use, lower the costs associated with related conditions, and improve the overall health of people in the county,” said Theresa Paeglow, PHIP Manager, AHI. “I can’t thank our task force enough for their hard work and tenacity and I can only hope other counties in our region will now follow suit.”