A new bill in Suffolk County proposes to raise the smoking age to 25. County Legislator Samuel Gonzalez is a former smoker and sponsor of the bill.
He says he wants to prevent people from picking up the habit. Shop owners are concerned that they’ll lose business and customers will drive to another part of the state.
“I didn’t do this to harm anyone. I didn't do this to harm businesses, that's not what I want, that’s not what I’m here for," Gonzalez said, "but I am putting the life of human beings first over the profit.”
Opponents to the bill also say the proposal might not be effective. They say raising the taxes on tobacco products may be a better alternative to raising the smoking age. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is reviewing the bill.