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Tobacco-Buying Age May Be RaisedIn Rockland County, N.Y.

The Rockland County, N.Y. legislature approved a bill this week raising the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 19, according to an Associated Press report.

The bill now goes to Republican County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef, who has not said if he would veto or sign the proposal.

Legislator Ellen Jaffee said she got the idea from Suffolk County, N.Y., which raised the tobacco-buying age a few months ago. She began working on the legislation after talking with leaders from the American Cancer Society and American Lung Association in February.

Supporters of the bill say raising the tobacco-buying age would help curb youth smoking because 18-year-old students could no longer buy cigarettes for younger classmates in high school.

Opponents said the proposed law would do nothing to stop teens who want to smoke and would limit the rights of legal adults. The New York Public Interest Research Group opposed the higher age limit, saying there is little proof that raising the tobacco-buying age stops teens from smoking.

The president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores said raising the age could confuse store owners and clerks and could send teens across county lines or to the Internet, Indian reservations and bootleggers for smokes.
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