MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Legislature will introduce a local law later this month that would raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco products in the county to 21.
The proposed law will be taken up by the Human Services committee when it meets Wednesday, March 16 at 5:15 p.m. on the third floor of the Gerace Office Building. It will also be introduced to the full legislature during its next voting session on March 23.
According to the language in the proposal, the legal age for buying tobacco products would be increased from 18 to 21 for several reasons. They include a recent study that found Chautauqua County has the ninth highest smoking rates in New York State (27.8 percent) and most of the county’s residents who smoke began doing so before the age of 21.
The local law also cites an national report from the federal Food and Drug Administration, entitled “Public Health Implications of Raising the Minimum Age of Legal Access to Tobacco Products,” which found that nicotine has an adverse physiological effect on brain development in adolescents, and that by raising the minimum legal age, it will likely immediately improve the health of adolescents and young adults by reducing the number of those exposed to those effects.
Products that would fall under the guidelines include cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, powdered tobacco, other tobacco products, nicotine water, herbal cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, liquid nicotine, snuff, rolling papers, and smoking paraphernalia.
Enforcement of the law would be similar to the rules and guidelines retailer currently have to follow in regard to selling tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18.
If approved by the legislature, the law would go into effect on Oct. 1, 2016.