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Ossining Legislator Calls For Raising Minimum Age On Cigarette Purchases

Westchester County Legislator Catherine Borgia
Westchester County Legislator Catherine Borgia Photo Credit: File Photo

OSSINING, N.Y. -- County Legislator Catherine Borgia is pushing legislation that would raise the minimum age to purchase cigarettes in Westchester from 18 to 19.

Borgia made the announcement at Rocky's Millwood Deli. Rocky's decided to step selling cigarettes nine years ago. CVS Pharmacy also announced it would no longer be selling cigarettes.

Borgia said that many kids who start smoking before the age of 18 get cigarettes from their friends. By raising the age of 18 to 19, Borgia feels this will reduce the supply of tobacco into high schools.

"There are not as many 19-year-olds in high school," Borgia said. "The younger you start smoking, the greater chance you will be a habitual smoker. We want to break the flow of tobacco products  to younger teens."

Smoking among high school students has been on the decline but Borgia said studies have shown that addictive behaviors formed at young age can act as a gateway to other drugs.

According to Borgia, 1 in 13 people will ultimately die from a smoking related illness.

"Any movement you can make to push people away from smoking will increase the health and welfare of our society," Borgia said. "We are a society moving toward that direction, although it's still a health issue and still a problem."

The Board of Legislators also will be considering whether to treat e-cigarettes the way tobacco is treated. 

"Its probably not a good thing to get children addicted to nicotine," Borgia said.

Borgia, whose district comprises Ossining, Briarcliff Manor, Croton-On-Hudson, and parts of Cortlandt and the City of  Peekskill, said she will be pursuing bipartisan support for her bill, which has several cosponsors, including Chairman Michael Kaplowitz, a fellow Democrat.

"I think most people will be receptive to this," Borgia said.

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