Nassau County Legislature not voting on bill to raise tobacco age to 21

The Nassau County Legislature will not vote on a bill that would have raised the age to purchase tobacco products in the county to 21.

The ‘Tobacco 21’ bill was signed in Suffolk

The ‘Tobacco 21’ bill was signed in Suffolk County in April. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

WOODBURY - The Nassau County Legislature will not vote on a bill that would have raised the age to purchase tobacco products in the county to 21.

Republican Majority Leader Norma Gonsalves blocked a vote on the bill that would have raised the age from 19 years old to 21. She says it's the job of the state, not the county, to decide when tobacco products can be purchased.

It comes after neighboring Suffolk County and New York City have moved to raise their tobacco-purchasing ages. Some lawmakers fear it will spur youths to travel to Nassau to purchase their tobacco.

Legislator Judy Jacobs says she's outraged at the move. "Shame on us if we are the only ones downstate to allow this," she said.

The American Lung Association says 90 percent of smokers begin before age 21. The group says it plans on attending the next open meeting of the Nassau Legislature and presenting its case for raising the age limit to 21.

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