Impact of New York City’s 2014 increased minimum legal purchase age on youth tobacco use

James Macinko, Diana Silver

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Objectives. To assess the impact of New York City’s (NYC’s) 2014 increase of the minimum legal purchase age (MLPA) for tobacco and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21 years. Methods. We performed a difference-in-differences analysis comparing NYC to the rest of New York State by using repeated cross-sections of the New York Youth Tobacco Survey (2008-2016) and to 4 Florida cities by using the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (2007-2015). Results. Adolescent tobacco use declined slightly in NYC after the policy change. However, this rate of change was even larger in control locations. In NYC, e-cigarette use increased and reported purchases of loose cigarettes remained unchanged, suggesting uneven policy implementation, enforcement, or compliance. Conclusions. Increasing the MLPA to 21 years in NYC did not accelerate reductions in youth tobacco use any more rapidly than declines observed in comparison sites. Public Health Implications. Other cities and states currently raising their MLPA for tobacco may need to pay close attention to policy enforcement and conduct enhanced monitoring of retailer compliance to achieve the full benefits of the policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-675
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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