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Long Beach considers raising age for tobacco sales to 21

City council may not vote until after Thanksgiving. If passed, city would join Hempstead, North Hempstead and other municipalities.

Long Beach City Council members say they plan

Long Beach City Council members say they plan to approve a ban sales of tobacco products and paraphernalia, including cigarettes, vaping pipes and e-cigarettes, to anyone under 21. Photo Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto / Tarzhanova

Long Beach could become the latest among several New York communities to raise the age for tobacco sales to 21.

City Council members announced they plan to vote on a proposal to ban sales of tobacco products and paraphernalia, including cigarettes, vaping pipes and e-cigarettes, to anyone under 21.

City officials had announced plans to raise the age at their Nov. 8 meeting. The move would require amending the city charter banning sales to minors.

A vote is scheduled for Tuesday’s meeting, but city officials said the council may vote to postpone the measure until Dec. 5, to give families and community groups a chance to attend after the Thanksgiving holiday.

If the measure is enacted, the city would join the Town of Hempstead, which raised the age to 21 in April, and North Hempstead, which also raised the age to 21 in February.

Similar regulations are in place across Suffolk County and New York City.

Nassau County Democrats proposed a countywide law to raise the age from 19 to 21 in March, but the motion was never brought to the legislature for a vote.

The age to buy tobacco products in the Town of Oyster Bay is 18.

Long Beach City Council Vice President Anthony Eramo said the council was approached by parents and doctors seeking to raise the age. Eramo said the resolution has full support from the council.

“If someone under 21 wants to buy cigarettes, they have to come to Long Beach and that doesn’t make sense,” Eramo said. “If Nassau County had passed it, we wouldn’t have to do it. We decided to protect the health of the community ourselves.”

Council members also were shown data that minors usually get cigarettes from 18-year-olds, but setting the age at 21 would present a barrier for those under age.

Judi Vining, executive director of Long Beach Aware, a youth substance-use prevention group, said raising the age would make the city’s regulations uniform with the Town of Hempstead, which is where the city’s middle and high schools are located.

“Right now we’re in this pocket of Nassau County where we’re surrounded by stricter guidelines,” Vining said. “This goes hand-in-hand with Long Beach being a healthier city and a healthy place for kids and families to enjoy and live.”

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