A Suffolk legislator is pushing to raise the age to buy smoking and vaping products from 21 to 25.
Mark Franz, with Matador Cigars Hauppauge, is against a proposal to raise the smoking and vaping age in Suffolk County.
“It’s like our rights are being taken away,” said Franz. “We have a lot of younger smokers, over 21, between that 21 and 25 age bracket and I think that would take a dip in the business for sure.”
Suffolk Legislator Samuel Gonzalez, who represents Brentwood, introduced the bill.
“I smoked from 13 to right around when I was 30 years old when I knew about my daughter,” Gonzalez said.
While Gonzalez says he doesn’t smoke cigarettes anymore, he admitted to “occasionally smoking cigars.”
He says he smoked one as recently as this past Sunday, but says the bill is about keeping anyone else from even starting the habit. But he admits his proposal does not have a lot of support.
Gonzalez says his bill has received pushback from tobacco companies, gas station owners and store owners.
Not everyone is against the bill.
“If you could prevent people from smoking until they’re 25, you know it’s pretty likely that they won’t start after that, so in theory, that’s a good idea,” said Dr. Norman Edelman, from Stony Brook University.
The doctor says it would be tough for a single county, like Suffolk, which shares an open border with Nassau, to pass and enforce raising the age limit for smoking.
“I think it’s going to take me whatever it’s going to be, it’s going to be years, I’m ready for the fight,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez says the next step is to send the bill to the Health Committee.
News 12 reached out to the Nassau Legislature but has not heard back.