Backers of a bill in Suffolk County to raise the age from 19 to 21 to buy tobacco products testified Tuesday that the legislation would reduce smoking among young people, while retailers said it would be "debilitating" to their businesses.
Legis. William Spencer (D-Centerport), the bill's sponsor, said his mother started smoking when she was 19 and died when she was 58. "She spent a lifetime trying to quit," he said.
But more than a dozen convenience store owners who attended the Legislature's first public hearing on the measure warned it would drive young people to Nassau County or the black market to buy cigarettes.