A proposal to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in Onondaga County, N.Y. has cleared its final hurdle, as County Executive Joanie Mahoney signed the bill on Tuesday.

With her signature, the increase will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The county legislature approved the increase at its Dec. 5 meeting.

Mahoney had previously vetoed a similar proposal in 2009, and while the legislature had the votes to override her, it opted not to pursue the matter.

This year, Mahoney has not only signed the bill, but called on the leadership of the Onondaga Nation to raise the tobacco purchasing age on their lands as well.

“This decision is ultimately about public health,” Mahoney said in a press release, adding that people who avoid smoking until 21 are less likely to ever start. “In an effort to address the legitimate concerns of our local businesses, I have also asked the leadership of the Onondaga Nation to join us in our efforts to promote public health.

The bill also removes an exemption for those serving in the military who are 18 years old to purchase tobacco products. The current minimum age to purchase tobacco products in the county is 19-years-old.

Onondaga County is located in central New York and includes the city of Syracuse, which is its county seat. It had a 2016 population estimate of 466,194 residents.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.