County’s Tobacco 21 Law Now In Effect

Legislator Paul & County Executive Day Praise Efforts To Curb Tobacco Use Among Youth To Boost Healthy Lifestyle

New City, NY (July 23, 2018) – 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 such sales.

“This law will pay off in the form of lower rates of death and disease for youth,” Legislator Aney Paul said. “While it will take time for the benefits to become clear, we can expect reduced suffering from lung cancer and the many diseases that have been documented to result from the use of tobacco products.”

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 12-1 on March 20.

County Executive Ed Day also 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,” County Executive 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. While I believe this issue should be addressed on the state or federal level, Rockland County has never shied away from taking the lead. We are the healthiest county in New York State and any way that we can keep tobacco products out of the hands of our young people will help them live longer, healthier lives.”

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.

Representatives from numerous public health advocacy organizations, including Denise Hogan, Project Manager for POW’R Against Tobacco, strongly supported passage of the new law.

“Rockland County continues to support tobacco reform and protect those who live, work, and play in the county,” Hogan said. “Tobacco 21 is one more positive step the County has taken to protect its citizens. Tobacco 21 will significantly reduce youth tobacco use and save thousands of lives. Delaying smoking initiation reduces the likelihood of ever starting.”

POW’R Against Tobacco promotes and educates the public about tobacco-free communities and the harmful effects of tobacco use in Putnam, Orange, Westchester, and Rockland counties.

“Tobacco is the nation’s number one cause of preventable death,” Hogan said.

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 and its July 17 effective date.

The Health Department has also invited all vendors to attend the New York State Certified Tobacco Training Course offered every other month in Building D at the Yeager Health Complex in Ramapo.

The Health Department has also informed vendors that after an educational period, it intends to conduct compliance checks regarding the new law, which is commonly referred to as Tobacco 21.

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