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Letter: '21 and over' law adds burden to biz

Cigarettes behind the counter of the Sunrise Optimo

Cigarettes behind the counter of the Sunrise Optimo store at 304 Court St. in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn on March 18, 2013. Credit: Linda Rosier

I am disappointed with the outcome of Suffolk County's decision to raise the age to buy cigarettes ["Suffolk's new age to buy cigs: 21," News, March 19].

In my opinion, this was a feel-good initiative to promote political careers.

It is not that I support smoking at any age. Since students can still be in high school at 18, raising the legal age to 19 in 2005 was appropriate to curb underage smoking in our schools. Changing the law to 21, however, essentially goes against the legal adult age for voting, enlisting in the armed services and other rights in the United States and much of the Western world. The law against selling alcohol to anyone younger than 21 hasn't stopped high school students from drinking.

How will this law be enforced? It's left up to the businesses of Suffolk County. Why should we be responsible for policing this bill?

If the legislators who voted for this bill truly wanted to make a difference, they would have amended it to say that the use or possession of cigarettes by anyone younger than 21 will be punished by a fine or community service.

That would have the added benefit of balancing the county budget in no time.

Dorothy Castaldo, Smithtown

Editor's note: The writer owns a 7-Eleven franchise in Commack.