Westchester lawmakers push to raise age to buy tobacco

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YONKERS -

A group of eight Westchester lawmakers wants to raise the age to buy cigarettes in the county.

The proposed bill would increase the age from 18 to 21 years old to buy tobacco products in the county.

"It's been proven the later a person starts smoking the less likely they are to be a lifelong addict," says Legislator Catherine Borgia, one of the bill's supporters.

Emily Daboin, 18, says she agrees that the age should be raised. She tells News 12 that teens smoke because they are stressed or think it is cool.

"Some people would want it and like it and say, ‘it relaxes me,’ but I just think it’s not good for you," she said.

More than a dozen counties in the state, including Rockland County, have raised the age in an effort to deter teens from smoking.

"If you talk to a lot of smokers today most of them started smoking in their teens," says Dr. Joseph Boyer, a pediatric pulmonologist at Boston Children's Health in Hawthorne.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around nine of 10 cigarette smokers first tried smoking by the age of 18.

The Committee on Legislation will review the bill for consideration Tuesday.

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