Fyi: starting today, you must be 19 to buy cigarettes in onondaga county

The legal age for purchasing cigarettes and tobacco products in Onondaga County will rise to 19 today.

The county’s Tobacco 19 law forbids the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to 18 year olds, effectively raising the county’s smoking age to 19. The only exceptions will be sales to 18 year old members of the military.

Stores will have to post signs advertising the new sales age, and vendors caught breaking the law will be subject to fines ranging from $300 to $1,000 for the first violation, and $500 to $1,500 for subsequent offenses.

The measure was passed by the Onondaga County Legislature in January, overriding the veto of County Executive Joanie Mahoney. Advocates say the law will discourage 18 year old high school students from buying smokes and passing them to younger students.

Onondaga County will join Nassau and Suffolk counties, which also have enacted Tobacco 19 laws. The rest of New York’s counties enforce the state’s ban on selling tobacco to customers 17 and younger.

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