New York Raises Tobacco Purchasing Age

Different cigarettes at a storeNew York City has changed the minimum age to legally buy tobacco from 18 to 21, becoming the first major city to do so.

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“Teen smoking is a huge issue, especially given that if you ask current smokers, 81 percent started before they were 21,” said Susan Kansagra, MD, New York City’s deputy commissioner for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in all age groups in New York City, and more than 19,000 high school students under 18 currently smoke.

The new restriction will go into effect in six months. Other laws to be implemented later include increased penalties on shops that sell tobacco to minors, a ban on tobacco discounts and the minimum price of a cigarette pack raised to $10.50.

Young Adults Log In For Health Care

During the month of October, young adults from around the country signed in and logged on to a webinar hosted by the National Leadership Council and included athletes, celebrities and activists who talked about the benefits they now have access to due to the Affordable Care Act.

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One of the participants Donald Jones, New England Patriots Wide Receiver, announced he will be retiring from the NFL because of a kidney disease that he has had for his entire life.“As some of you may know, I have been suffering from a kidney disease throughout my entire life,” Jones wrote. “As a result of recent advances in my disease, I am no longer able to pursue my career in the National Football League. Playing in the NFL was a lifelong dream of mine, and though I have the opportunity to continue my career, stepping away from the game is absolute best decision for my family and for my health.”

It is because of his health condition that made it important for him to be apart of this Promoting Wellness of Youth and Young Adults panel. Jones stated that he wanted to help promote resources that others like him can achieve success despite health issues.

Towanda Braxton, Actress and Singer,  star of hit reality-show Braxton Family Values and member of the Braxtons, female R&B group, graduated from Historically Black College and University, Bowie State University, and a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.  Towanda starred in the broadway play Dreamgirls and is the leading character in the second season of Starting Over. Towanda and the Braxton Family have battled Autism,  Diabetes and Lupus and find  health and resilience through family, spirituality and singing.

Towanda offered her support of the Affordable Care Act admonishing young adults to log in, get involved and get insured.

Antonio Wilson, Young Adult and Behavioral Health Advocate was also on the panel, offering great insight on his story and campaign to health.

Young adults from around the world, listened and shared their questions ending in a positive move toward more young adults shattering the statistics that many young adults aren’t insured.

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