After closing out 2013 with a promise to introduce a bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco in Suffolk County, NY from 19 to 21, legislator William Spencer, D-Centerport, started off 2014 by following through on that pledge.

Resolution 1039 was filed on January 2 and would put the county at the eastern end of Long Island on par with neighboring New York City, which passed a similar increase in November 2013. It is scheduled for its first public hearing on February 11.

Spencer told Newsday that he expects a fight to get his proposal passed, not only from within the 18-member legislature but from convenience stores, gasoline stations and other tobacco retailers. While not all members of the legislature have made their feelings about the proposal known, John M. Kennedy, Jr., R-Neconset, and the minority leader, has been a vocal opponent of the age increase, telling Newsday that “I’m fed up with government’s quest to regulate every element of behavior.”

The financial impact to the county and state should the law pass has not been calculated yet. Suffolk County is home to approximately 1.5 million people.

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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, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.