State leaders propose raising age to buy tobacco
Two state polls will be pushing Albany to follow the Big Apple's suit in its fight against youth smoking.
State Sen. Diane Savino and state Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal introduced bills in their respective legislative bodies Friday that would make the City Council's proposal that would raise the smoking age to 21 go beyond the five boroughs.
Savino, a Staten Island representative who who lost her parents and grandfather to lung cancer, said she supported the Council's bill that will be introduced this week because too many teens get hooked on tobacco and harm their adult lives.
"This is an illness, and an addiction that will last me for the rest of my life," the senator, a former smoker said during a news conference Sunday.
Under the Council bill, which the mayor supports, convenience stores that sell tobacco products to anyone under 21 would be hit with fines. The state bill would also issue fines, as well as strip the offending store of its license to sell tobacco.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said raising the minimum age could reduce smoking between 18 and 20-year-olds by 55% and thanked the state legislators for following suit.
"When New York leads, the rest of the country follows," Quinn, who is running for mayor, said.