County Legislature votes to raise tobacco age

If an Onondaga County Legislature vote stands, beginning March 2, 2009, you will need to be 19 years old to buy tobacco products in Onondaga County.

Legislators voted 14 to 5 to pass the "Tobacco 19" legislations. It's the same law that Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney vetoed in September.

"The only people that have won with this veto was the big tobacco business and convenience store owners, the citizens and taxpayers lost," said County Legislator Bob Warner at the time.

Those who supported the legislation want to keep cigarettes out the schools by restricting minors from getting cigarettes from their friends who are 18. Mahoney said that after looking into the issue, she found the legislation wasn't going to accomplish that because she says many 18 year olds buy cigarettes from places not included in the proposed law.

Mahoney can veto the legislation. However, legislators would need 13 votes to override the veto, a total which was surpassed by one. The legislation excludes 18 year olds serving in the military.