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Photo: Eva Hambach/AFP via Getty Images

As of Wednesday, the legal age to purchase tobacco and electronic cigarettes in the state of New York has gone up from 18 to 21 years old, NBC 4 reports.

Background: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law this summer in an attempt to curtail health threats associated with the use of tobacco products. The Health Department and New York State Police will perform undercover retail checks to determine where vaping products are sold to underage youth, according to a press release cited by CNN.

The big picture: Smoking, specifically via vape products, has been under attack in recent months as the medical community scurries to learn more about illnesses affecting e-cigarette users. There are 39 reported deaths related to vape products and over 2,000 reported cases of the mysterious illness.

  • Federal health officials recently identified vitamin E acetate as a potential culprit for the illness. The substance has been found in the lung fluids of 29 patients suffering from the sickness.

Between the lines: Vaping concerns have largely focused on young people. Whereas cigarette smoking was in decline for teens and young adults, vaping has surged in popularity — particularly with flavored liquids.

  • The New York Department of Health reports that nearly 40% of high school seniors are using e-cigarettes, while 27% of the state's high schoolers are vaping.
  • Cuomo has pushed to ban flavored e-cigs, but a state appellate court blocked New York's ban on all flavored electronic cigarettes the first week of October.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

8 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.