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.

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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 the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.