Essex County OKs raising legal age to purchase tobacco products

ELIZABETHTOWN | Essex County has become the latest county in New York state to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.

The Essex County Board of Supervisors voted 1,755 to 1,116 on Tuesday to approve the measure, becoming the first county in the North Country to do so.

Advocates appeared thrilled at the new law, which was backed by the Adirondack Health Institute.

“Tobacco 21 is a win-win,” said Julie Hart, a spokesman for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “I’m glad (the board) put the health of their constituents before special interest groups.”

. . .

Supporters of the measure acknowledged potential speedbumps — “This law is not perfect, but it does do something to address health issues in our county,” said Ticonderoga Supervisor Joe Giordano — but also said local government has a moral imperative to improve public health.

“I feel this is a positive step and I can’t ignore that moral question,” said Keene Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson.

Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow said he has received feedback on both sides of the issue.

“I would not put the health of youth above profits,” Morrow said.

Joining Morrow, Wilson, Giordano and Jackson in supporting the measure were Roby Politi (North Elba), Charles Harrington (Crown Point), Jim Monty (Lewis), Mike Marnell (Schroon) and Randy Preston (Wilmington).

The measure was previously brought to a vote in June, but lawmakers voted narrowly to snuff out the measure, a decision advocates chalked up to the three lawmakers whose absence automatically counted as “no” votes.

All 18 lawmakers voted on Tuesday.

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September 4, 2018