Lawmakers in the New York state Assembly have voted to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21.
The legislation, which passed the Democrat-led chamber on Wednesday, prohibits the sale of tobacco, as well as electronic cigarettes, to anyone under 21.
"I always thought that we were going to be the generation to stop smoking and then all of these new products came out and we are at step one," said Monica Jackson, a research assistant at the University of Rochester.
She said she doesn't smoke, but some of her friends do.
"I think just educating people and putting it in their heads this is not good for us," she added.
Jackson is part of a team of researchers at the university, including Dr. Irfan Rahman. Dr. Rahman has been helping conduct a study on the impacts of smoking and vaping for more than 10 years. Some of his work has also been published.
"This is really bad for high schoolers and middle schoolers when their lungs are developing, and if they vape it's interfering with lung development," he explained.
When asked about raising the age to buy tobacco and e-cigarettes, Dr. Rahman said it won't do much.
"The problem will never be solved by increasing the age. Overall it will not address the issue of toxicity and diseases," he said.
Throughout the years, Dr. Rahman says he's studied the evolution of different products to consume tobacco and nicotine.
When it comes to research on Juul products, he said, "we found metals such as copper, we published a paper, we found lung injuries, inflammation and stress in the lungs."
The elevated smoking age is already the law in seven states, and several cities around the country, including New York City.
Some people think passing such a law is going too far.
"The idea for them to choose when they finish high school when they become adults it's more applicable, so i think 19 would be more of an applicable age," said James McGuinness a Rochester resident.
Brandon Barr is the manager of Exscape Smoke Shop and Vapor Lounge. He said the age of 21 at least is giving you more life experience, and more of a chance to educate yourself about the thing you want to do.
He said if the law is passed, it likely won't impact his business directly.
"I think convenience stores and things like that probably will because they have more of a high customer volume," he added.
Barr said the topic of education should be at the center of this debate. He said he works to educate all of his customers about what they are buying.
"Some of these very high level nicotine juices if you were to put them in certain kinds of vapes it can put so much nicotine into you - you could get sick," he said.
The measure is backed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, and has broad support in the Democrat-controlled state Senate, where it has yet to be scheduled for a vote.
Cuomo released a statement after the Assembly passed the bill.
"The lifelong health effects and human misery caused by tobacco use cannot be understated and New York needs to do everything in its power to keep tobacco products out of the hands of our young people. That's why I made raising the age of tobacco sales to 21 one of the first proposals of my Justice Agenda and I applaud the Assembly and particularly Assembly Member Rosenthal for taking action on this very important issue today. I urge the Senate to follow suit and help make this a stronger and healthier New York for all."
Julie Hart of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network called the measure "common sense" and said it will reduce the number of young people who become addicted.