A bill in Nassau County, N.Y. that would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21-years-old took a step forward on Monday as it received unanimous approval by the legislature’s Rules Committee.
The bill now heads to the full county legislature, where it appears it will be approved. It also has the support of Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who has said she will sign it into law should it arrive on her desk.
This is the third time in the past five years that the legislature has considered an increase, though the previous bills introduced by Judy Jacobs, a Democrat, had been roadblocked by Republican legislators who prevented it from getting a hearing. This year’s version was introduced by the legislature’s presiding officer, Richard Nicolello, R-New Hyde Park, and now appears to have support from his fellow GOP members.
The legislation is being seen as a way to get all of the towns in the county to have the same minimum age to purchase tobacco products; while Hempstead and North Hempstead have passed increases, the town of Oyster Bay has not.
The full legislature is scheduled to meet next on May 23. An agenda for that meeting has not yet been released. Should the age increase proposal pass, the law would apply to all tobacco products as well as shisha, herbal cigarettes, electronic aerosol delivery systems such as e-cigarettes and vaping products, as well as smoking paraphernalia. It would also place a ban on the sale of such products via vending machines.
Nassau County, which covers the western end of Long Island, is home to an estimated 1.367 million residents.