Albany County Legislature’s Tobacco Bill Becomes Law

County executive signs bill aimed at reducing tobacco and nicotine addiction among young adults

ALBANY (June 8, 2016) – Albany County lawmakers on Wednesday celebrated the signing of a bill that raises the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Introduced by Democrat Paul Miller of District 32 in Guilderland, the law prohibits the sale of cigarettes, tobacco products, liquid nicotine and electronic cigarettes to persons under 21 countywide. The Albany County Legislature passed the bill in May. Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy signed the legislation into law on Wednesday.

“We’re glad the county executive decided to sign this common sense public health measure into law,” Miller said. “It was supported by the Albany County Health Board, doctors, public health organizations and some 64 percent of the public, according to one survey,” Miller said.

Albany County becomes the first county in the region to adopt “Tobacco 21” legislation. It joins New York City, Suffolk and Chautauqua counties and states and cities across the nation in hiking the age for buying cigarettes to 21.

County lawmakers said the law will deter adolescents and young adults from picking up the harmful habit of smoking. Several persons turned up at a recent public hearing held in the middle of a work day to urge the county executive to sign the bill, saying it “kicks butts.”

Democratic Majority Leader Frank Commisso credited Miller for tackling tobacco use among young adults.

“Albany County has been a leader on health issues, and we will continue to be,” Commisso said.

The Albany County Legislature previously voted to ban use of “E-cigarettes” where traditional cigarettes are prohibited, including most workplaces, bars and restaurants. Vaping is not permitted in county-owned buildings.

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