The movement to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products continues to grow in New York state, as yesterday the Sullivan County Legislature approved an increase from 18 to 21 by an 8-1 vote.
Once the increase goes into effect on Sept. 1, 2017, violators will be subject to a penalty of between $300 and $1,000 for a first offense of selling tobacco to a person under 21. Subsequent offenses are punishable with fines between $500 and $1,500.
Retailers will also be prohibited from selling tobacco products within 1,000 feet of a school, though existing retailers will be grandfathered in and allowed to sell tobacco until there is a change in the ownership of the business.
With the approval of the increase, Sullivan County joins Albany, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Orange, and Schenectady as counties where the minimum age to purchase tobacco is 21. New York City famously passed an increase in 2013, while the New York State Assembly is currently considering a bill that would raise the minimum age to 21 statewide.
Sullivan County is located in the southern part of the state, with its county seat of Monticello approximately 100 miles northwest of New York City. It is home to roughly 77,000 people.