Issue of underage smoking heats up race for Rockland County executive

Posted: Updated:

Two Rockland County lawmakers are locked in a political debate over how to keep cigarettes out of the hands of children.

County legislator Ellen Jaffee, who is running for county executive, proposed raising the minimum tobacco buying age to 19. But her opponent, County Executive Scott Vanderhoef, vetoed her legislative proposal calling for stiffer penalties for underage tobacco sales. He proposes a $250 fine or up to 15 days in jail for cigarette vendors who sell to minors.

Jaffee says her proposal to raise the minimum age serves as a deterrent and a health consideration. She says it was approved by members of the American Cancer Society.

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