Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino and the Town Board proudly passed legislation in April that would raise the purchase age for tobacco from 18 to 21 in Hempstead Town. That new legislation has been filed with New York State, as required by law. Now, Hempstead Town wants to ensure that tobacco retailers have proper signage at their businesses to alert consumers of the measure.
“We want to make it abundantly clear that in Hempstead Town you must be 21 years of age in order to purchase tobacco products,” said Supervisor Santino.
Under the new legislation, businesses selling tobacco products must clearly post signs indicating that the sale of those items to persons under 21 years of age is prohibited by law. If in violation of the law, a business or other establishment that sells tobacco to a person under the minimum age would be subject to penalties under New York State Public Health Law 1399. The law provides for fines of up to $1,500 and potentially the revocation of a license to sell tobacco products.
Retailers can obtain the signage that should be placed in any location in Hempstead Town where tobacco products are sold by visiting www.toh.li and printing out the 11 by 8.5 inch sign. The sign may also be accessed here.
At the Town Board hearing on the subject, a representative of the American Lung Association noted, “If a youth reaches the age of 21 without smoking, the chance of them ever doing so plummets to 2 percent.”
In addition to cigarettes, the Town law takes aim at other unhealthy alternatives to cigarettes that contain harmful toxins, including cigars, chewing and powdered tobacco, liquid nicotine, shisha, bidis, gutka, herbal cigarettes, rolling papers, other smoking paraphernalia and electronic cigarettes. According to findings released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, e-cigarette use by teenagers tripled nationwide between 2013 and 2014 and increased nearly 10 times for high schoolers between 2011 and 2015.
“There is clear cut evidence that raising the age for tobacco sales will slash the smoking rate significantly and reduce the number of smoking-related deaths,” Santino said. “I am committed to protecting young people, and passing legislation that raises the age for tobacco sales helps achieve that goal.”