If you’re under the age of 21, forget about trying to buy tobacco products in Rockland County. A new law now in effect bans sales of cigarettes and other tobacco to minors.
“This law will pay off in the form of lower rates of death and disease for youth,” Legislator Aney Paul said.
Legislator Paul, who holds a Doctorate in Nursing Practice and has been a nurse for more than 30 years, was the sponsor of the legislation, which had bipartisan support when it was adopted by a vote of 12-1 on March 20.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day praised the broad effort to help protect the health of youth and the adults they will become.
“As a former smoker who quit back in 1994, nothing good comes from putting tobacco in your body,” Day said. “After 20 plus years of smoking, I was amazed at how much better I felt after I quit, and I am convinced that my health would not be what it is today had I not done so."
Rockland County is ranked first in New York state for overall health in 2018, up from second place last year. The rankings, issued by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, look at more than 30 factors that affect health such as education, employment, housing, tobacco use, and access to health care.
“Tobacco is the nation’s number one cause of preventable death,” said Denise Hogan, project manager for POW’R Against Tobacco,
Rockland’s law bans the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, electronic cigarettes, rolling papers and other smoking paraphernalia.
Violators face a civil penalty of up to $2,000 per day per violation in accordance with the Rockland County Sanitary Code. Enforcement of the law falls to the Rockland County Health Department, which was already conducting spot checks for under age 18 compliance.
The Health Department has sent letters to tobacco vendors in Rockland informing them of the law that took effect on July 17.
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