Suffolk legislator pushing to raise county's smoking age to 25
It was once 18, now it's at 21, and now a Suffolk lawmaker is pushing to once again up the smoking age.
In a move to try and snuff out young smokers on Long Island, Suffolk Legislator Sam Gonzalez has introduced a bill that would raise the age for smoking and vaping in the county from 21 to 25 years old.
"It's going to save thousands lives ... it's going to discourage many of the young, preventing them from smoking," says Gonzalez.
Last year, New York passed Tobacco 21 into law, making 21 the legal age to smoke statewide. But localities have the option to raise it higher.
Gonzalez, a former smoker, says there is a big difference between age 21 and 25 in terms of maturity.
"If by 25 you're not smoking, you're not going to. You've developed. Your mind develops, scientifically at 25 you're pretty sound in the way you think," says Gonzalez.
The American Cancer Society says there's no scientific evidence at this time that indicates raising the legal smoking age to 25 would have an impact.
"There is very little evidence in terms of raising the age to 25. We were grateful to get Tobacco 21 because there's clear evidence that the ages between 18, 19, 20, 21 are the prime ages for the kids to start to smoke, especially the kids in high school," says Pat Bishop Kelly, with the American Cancer Society.
A public hearing on the measure is scheduled for early next month.