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Tobacco 21 signed in as Nassau County law

Nassau County’s legal age to purchase tobacco is officially 21.

On Monday, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) signed into law a bill raising the age from 18 after the Legislature unanimously approved it in May.

The bill was introduced by the Republican majority, but followed years of GOP opposition to the age increase bill introduced by members of the Democratic minority.

Legislator Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview) said in a news release that he was proud to witness this historic day in Nassau.

Drucker’s predecessor, the late Legislator Judy Jacobs, had been a big proponent of increasing the age and was the first to propose the law.

“Raising the minimum age for the purchase of tobacco products to 21 will save lives by making it harder for teenagers to pick up a dangerous habit that results in a lifetime of poor health, addiction, inordinate expense, and a loss of the ability to enjoy life to its fullest,” Drucker said.

Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said in a previous interview that some opposition from his colleagues had stemmed from feeling that 19- and 20-year-olds are old enough to make the decision themselves.

However, an increase in young people using e-cigarettes created a “new urgency” for the bill, Nicolello said.

The law will fine stores for selling tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, herbal cigarettes, rolling papers and electronic cigarettes, to underage customers.

It will mainly affect Oyster Bay, as the 21 age requirement is already a town law in North Hempstead and Hempstead.

Our View: Minnesota’s cities continue to lead in snuffing smoking

With elected state leaders still mostly just blowing smoke, Minnesota’s cities continue to take steps to improve health, clear the air, and prevent young Minnesotans from being ensnared by the deadly dangers of cigarettes and tobacco use.

Last week, St. Peter became the ninth Minnesota city in just a little over a year to raise the legal age to buy tobacco to 21. It joined Edina, St. Louis Park, Bloomington, Plymouth, North Mankato, Shoreview, Falcon Heights, and Minneapolis in passing so-called “Tobacco 21” policies.

“Seeing local entities take charge of tobacco-prevention measures in their communities: That is so encouraging to us,” Anne Mason of the Minneapolis-based smoking-cessation group ClearWay Minnesota said in an interview last summer with the News Tribune Opinion page.

At that time, only Edina had raised the legal age to buy tobacco, and only a couple of other cities in our state were taking their first steps. Imagine Mason’s giddiness now.

“(Raising the legal age) takes it out of a high school kid’s social circle. If (tobacco companies) don’t get to you before age 21, chances are you won’t become an addicted adult,” she said. “(Local communities taking charge, taking action) is how great policies have passed in the past, and clearly Duluth has been a leader in this, in protecting clean indoor air, even with e-cigarettes, before the state had acted.”

You now have to be 21 to buy tobacco, vape products in Westchester

WHITE PLAINS – Westchester County lawmakers raised the age to buy tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21 in a vote Monday night.

The county Board of Legislators voted 16-1 to increase the age to buy cigarettes, e-cigarettes, rolling papers and other products. Only Republican Minority Leader John Testa voted no.

Increasing the age will reduce the amount of people who become regular smokers, lawmakers said.

The change is expected to be signed into law by county Executive George Latimer. It goes into effect 60 days from when it’s enacted.

Westchester is the latest municipality to up the age to 21, after a similar measure became law in Rockland County in April. The town of New Castle in Westchester passed its own bill to increase the age earlier last month.

The statewide age is 18, but municipalities can choose to increase the age on their own. New York City and several other counties have been upped to 21. The minimum age in Nassau County is 19.

The state has debated raising the statewide age for tobacco products to 21.

Minneapolis City Council Unanimously Raises Age To Buy Tobacco To 21

Minneapolis, the largest city in the state, has been given the green light to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco.

City council members passed the ordinance Friday that raises the age for tobacco sales from 18 to 21.

Minneapolis is not the first Minnesota city to make this change, but they are on the forefront. With a unanimous vote, it is now the seventh city in the state to pass a Tobacco 21 Ordinance.

“Starting at the age of 12, my mother smoked two packs a day,” city council member Lisa Goodman said. “Tobacco is an addiction.”

Minneapolis joins other suburban cities in Minnesota — including Bloomington, Edina, Falcon Heights, Plymouth, Shoreview, St. Cloud and St. Louis Park — in raising the age for sales.

“Today kids in Minneapolis continued blazing a trail for change in Minneapolis and around our state,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said. “Passing this ordinance marks a resounding victory for our kids’ health and a tipping point for a change in state law. Our city is joining a coalition fighting the tobacco lobby to reduce youth smoking.”

Worthington bans tobacco sales to those under 21

Worthington has joined a growing number of central Ohio communities in banning the sale of tobacco to people under 21 years old.

Worthington City Council voted 7-0 Monday night to approve an ordinance raising the minimum age to 21 for those who can buy tobacco and tobacco-related products. The new law will take effect July 1, but no citations or fines would be imposed on retailers who break the law until Oct. 1.

Council President Bonnie Michael said she had “not heard one negative comment” from the community about the new ordinance.

“I think this is going to be a really life-changing program for everyone who lives and works in Worthington and all the kids who go to school here,” said Councilwoman Rachael Dorothy.