ALBANY — Holy Smokes!
You can get married but don’t plan on celebrating with a cigar if you’re under 21, if some state lawmakers have their way.
A bill being considered in the waning days of the New York State Legislature’s session in Albany would raise the age to buy tobacco products to 21 across the state — the same as for buying booze.
Delis and bodegas who sell cigarettes as well as young smokers won’t be happy.
“By delaying children and young adults access to tobacco products, we will reduce the likelihood they ever start smoking and therefore create a healthier state,” Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), chief author of the bill, said in a memo of support.
The Assembly measure is co-sponsored by 26 other members.
Every year, 53,000 youth in the state under 18 become regular smokers, she said. Half of those who start smoking as teens will later die from tobacco-related illnesses, data show.
In the Senate, the bill is backed by Sen. Diane Savino (D-SI) and 20 other sponsors.
The bills are being reviewed by the Assembly Codes Committee and Senate Finance Committee. If reported out, the measures could reach the floor for a vote before the Legislature adjourns for the summer on Wednesday.