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Hempstead Town proposal would raise legal age for tobacco sales

Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino speaks at the

Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino speaks at the Bellmore LIRR Station on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. Credit: Barry Sloan

Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino announced Monday that he is proposing local legislation that would raise the legal age for tobacco sales from 18 to 21.

The motivation is to protect young people from the adverse effects of smoking and to encourage 18- to 20-year-olds not to smoke, a news release said.

Santino was joined by other local officials in making the announcement at William S. Covert Elementary School in South Hempstead.

The proposed legislation would also target cigars, chewing and powdered tobacco, liquid nicotine, shisha, bidis, gutka, herbal cigarettes, rolling papers, other smoking paraphernalia and electronic cigarettes.

At today’s town board meeting, members will call for a public hearing to be scheduled for the April 25 agenda.

Under the proposed legislation, businesses selling tobacco products must clearly post signs indicating that the sale of those items to persons under 21 years of age is prohibited by law. If a business violates the law it would be subject to penalties under New York State Public Health Law 1399. The law provides for fines of up to $1,500 and potentially the revocation of a license to sell tobacco products.

In March, the Town of North Hempstead raised to 21 years old the legal age to purchase tobacco.

The law affects the sale of tobacco products, liquid nicotine and electronic cigarettes.

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