Nassau proposes bill to raise age to buy tobacco county-wide

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HEMPSTEAD -

Nassau County lawmakers will consider a bill to raise the age for purchasing tobacco products in the county.

If the bill passes, it would force the Town of Oyster Bay to join the rest of Nassau, Suffolk and New York City in raising the tobacco age to 21. Nassau's other towns previously passed similar legislation on their own.

"We looked at the fact that it's in place in most of the county, what's happening with vapes and electronic cigarettes in our schools and the use for marijuana. We thought this would be the right time to do it," says Richard Nicolello, presiding officer of the Nassau Legislature.

But local retailers have concerns. The president of the New York State Association of Convenience Stores tells News 12 that he's worried the bill will keep 19- and 20-year-olds out of local businesses altogether.

Matt Flax, the owner of a local vape shop called Vaporville, agrees, and says he thinks the bill simply won't work.

In a statement, the American Cancer Society says, "Research shows that if a person does not begin smoking at a young age, they are much less likely to ever smoke. This law would not only save lives, but would cut health care costs."

The bill will go before the Legislature on May 21.

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