TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. — The county is seeking public input about a proposed local law that would raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21 in Tompkins County.

Tompkins County Legislature voted to set a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. April 18 at County Legislature Chambers in the Governor Daniel D. Tompkins Building, 121 E. Court Street (Second Floor), Ithaca.

The topic has been debated among legislators, and the vote to hold the public hearing at all was not unanimous. Legislators Mike Sigler, Carol Chock, Will Burbank and Peter Stein voted no.

Read more: Q&A with legislators: should Tompkins County approve increase in tobacco purchase age?

The purpose of the local law is to reduce the number of people of all ages who use tobacco. Studies have shown that raising the minimum legal purchasing to 21 does lower the number of people who start smoking

The public hearing resolution states, “Tompkins County has a substantial interest in reducing the number of individuals of all ages who use cigarettes and other tobacco products, and a particular interest in protecting adolescents from tobacco dependence and the illnesses and premature death associated with tobacco use.”

On the other hand, some have argued that raising the age to 21 is government overreach when people who are 18 are adults that can vote, serve in the military and make major financial decisions.

Read more about the proposed law, including studies related to raising the age below:

Proposed local law to raise tobacco purchase age by Kelsey O’Connor on Scribd

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.