Columbia County decides not to raise smoking age

HUDSON, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Columbia County Board of Health has decided not to increase the smoking age from 18 to 21-years-old.

The decision followed a discussion that was triggered by the recent increase in the smoking age in other New York State counties. Albany County passed a law this year making it illegal to sell tobacco products to those under the age of 21.

“It’s a State issue. If the State were to raise the smoking age to 21, the Columbia County Board of Health would support that,” said Board of Health President Patricia DiGrigoli.

She says that the Board of Health supports anti-smoking efforts and using education for that purpose, however the effectiveness of raising the smoking age to deter smoking, has yet to be seen. She notes that the immediate impact of changing the current county law would impact local businesses, resulting in an increase of fines and penalties.

DiGrigoli also said that an increase in the smoking age in Columbia County would result in smokers under the age of 21 to continue their business in neighboring counties.

“Increasing the smoking age to 21 will take assets away from other programs that would be of greater benefit to the taxpayers of our county,” said Board of Health member Peter Mullins.

According to The Board, they agreed that Columbia County is already proactive in promoting anti-smoking education and enforcing the current tobacco laws through the regulation of tobacco sales, enforcement of current laws, and benefit of New York State-funded programs.

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