New York’s Government Relations Director Caitlin O’Brien, left, and the American Lung Association’s Director of Public Policy Kristina Wieneke continue to lead the push to pass #Tobacco21 statewide.

Our New York State Government Relations Director Caitlin O’Brien has a June Update From Albany.

With only a few weeks left of this year’s legislative session, the fate of Tobacco 21 remains uncertain.

Due to continued political turmoil regarding control of the Senate, and the recent return to Naval duty by Republican Senator Tom Croci, nobody really knows how many more pieces of legislation will get passed.

We are still putting all our efforts behind Tobacco 21, and it is moving along. Just this past Thursday, the Senate Health Committee voted the bill out of committee. Four Republican Senators, Betty Little of Queensbury; Martin Golden of Brooklyn; Patty Ritchie of Oswegatchie in St. Lawrence County; and James Seward of Milford in Otsego County, voted against the bill. That means we need our volunteers to reach out and urge them to support this common-sense legislation. Before Tobacco 21 can be voted on by the full Senate, it needs to pass out of the Finance Committee. Unfortunately, this is the same committee where the bill died last year. No date is set yet for the bill to come before the Finance Committee.

Moving over to the Assembly, we are still trying to get enough votes to make sure the bill will be voted out of the codes committee. Tobacco legislation is hard to get through this committee. We need all the help we can get! These Assembly members need to hear from you in order to ensure they vote in favor of Tobacco 21: Vivian Cook of Jamaica; Daniel O’Donnell of New York City; Andrew Hevesi of Queens; and Michelle Titus of Far Rockaway.

I can make it easy for you to contact your legislator. Contact me at Caitlin O’Brien at Caitlin.obrien@heart.org and I’ll  provide you with a pre-written email or letter to send to your legislator.

Social media is always helpful, so please feel free to use this sample content to tweet at your legislator and any of these Legislators:

@bettylittle

@SenMartyGolden

@SenatorRitchie

@DanielJODonnell

@AndrewHevesi

You can find a list of all the New York legislators’ Twitter handles here: https://lrany.org/nys-legislator-twitter-handles/.

Here is some sample content:

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

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

26,000 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.

Smoking is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. 96% of smokers start before turning 21. 96%! Passing #Tobacco21 can stop that. @YourLegislator #LifeIsWhyNY