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Support Grows On County Board For Raising Age To Buy Cigarettes

Catherine Borgia
Catherine Borgia Photo Credit: File

OSSINING, N.Y. -- Westchester County Board of Legislators Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining) is getting support for proposed legislation that would raise the minimum age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 19 years old.

Borgia held a special press conference last week to announce the support for the legislation. Board Chairman Michael Kaplowitz (D-Somers), Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D-Ossining) and other elected officials and anti-smoking advocates joined Borgia at the press conference. Tobacco use stands as the nation’s leading cause of preventable death, killing 480,000 people annually, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“It’s time to make it harder in Westchester for our young people to access cigarettes,” said Borgia. “Increasing the age for tobacco purchase to nineteen in Westchester is a good start in fighting the smoking epidemic and ensuring a healthier future for all of our residents.”

Borgia said increasing the minimum age to 19 in Westchester would "have a dramatic impact on the availability of tobacco products in high schools around the county," according to a press release.

The proposed legislation has been sponsored by Borgia, Kaplowitz, Majority Whip Lyndon Williams (D-Mount Vernon), Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh), Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson) and Legislator Catherine Parker (D-Rye).

“As a legislature, if we can facilitate even a small part in preventing our young people from starting this deadly habit, it is important that we do so,” said Kaplowitz. “As co-author of the ‘Smoke-Free Workplace Law’ here in Westchester, I am proud to support this legislation.”

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