Heart Association advocates will return to the Capitol on May 8.

With the American Heart Association’s Tobacco 21 lobby day set for May 8, a strong show of support will go a long way. Help us protect the health of our youth by letting elected officials know that you support raising the minimum legal sales age of tobacco products to 21.

You may have heard about the political unrest currently going on in the New York Senate. A breakaway group of Democrats, called the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), who had previously caucused with the Republicans, decided to rejoin the mainline Democrats in hopes to create a Senate controlled by the Democratic Party. After the Democrats gained two seats in a special election at the end of April, the Democrats where only one seat away from becoming the majority party. This one seat deficit is due in part to Senator Felder, a Democrat who votes with the Republicans.

So, why does all this matter for our Tobacco 21 legislation? Well, Tobacco 21’s Senate sponsor, a former IDC member, is now in the minority. By showing your support, you can increase the chances of getting this common-sense legislation passed this year.

Now more than ever legislators need to hear from you. Social media is a great way to get involved. Below is a list of key legislators and their twitter handles as well as some Facebook and Twitter messages you can use. You can also tweet, call or write to your own elected legislator.

John J. Flanagan  @LeaderFlanagan

Kemp Hannon   @HannonSenate

Simcha Felder    @NYSenatorFelder

John DeFrancisco @JohnDeFrancisco

Richard Funke   @SenatorFunke

Catharine Young  @SenatorYoung

Carl Heastie        @CarlHeastie

Joseph Lentol    @assemblymanjoe

Andrew Hevesi @AndrewHevesi 

Suggested Facebook posts or tweets regarding Tobacco 21

Half a million New Yorkers live with serious smoking-caused illnesses and disabilities. Let’s stop smoking before it starts by passing #Tobacco21. @YourLegislator #LifeIsWhyNY @AHANewYork

If someone reaches the age of 21 without smoking, the chance of them ever doing so plummets to 2%. Protect our youth by passing #Tobacco21. @YourLegislator #LifeIsWhyNY @AHANewYork

28,000 people in New York die annually from tobacco use. It’s time to change that. Passing #Tobacco 21 will prevent death and disability connected to stroke. @YourLegisaltor. #LifeIsWhyNY. @AHANewYork

Smoking is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. 95% of smokers start before turning 21. 95%! Passing #Tobacco21 can stop that. @YourLegislator #LifeIsWhyNY. @AHANewYork