County Dems propose raising smoking age to 21

The Westchester County Board of Legislators’ Democratic caucus is aiming to tighten regulations on smoking with a bill that proposes to raise the age for those allowed to purchase tobacco products.

Westchester Democrats are proposing to raise the minimum age to be able to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco-related products to 21. Photo courtesy Ken Hawkins

At tonight’s county Board of Legislators, BOL, meeting, Democrats will introduce a bill to restrict any person under 21 years of age from buying tobacco or related products, like e-cigarettes, rolling papers or pipes.

The bill would not be immediately voted on. It will first have to make it through committee and be discussed during a public hearing before being brought to a vote by the Legislature.

Democrats proposed to raise the smoking age last April, but the legislation failed to gain any support. As of press time, the Democratic caucus holds a 12-5 majority on the BOL.

If approved in Westchester, the legislation would follow what other counties have passed in their respective municipalities.

New York City and 10 other counties in the state, including Suffolk, have already outlawed the sale of cigarettes to those under the age of 21. Nassau County restricts the sale of tobacco products to those under 19.

According to the state Department of Health, smoking kills about 28,000 New Yorkers each year, and there are roughly 750,000 in the state living with a serious smoking-related illness.



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