Ontario Co. BOS puts off tobacco age vote

With four members of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors absent Thursday night, the board delayed a vote on a proposed local law that would raise the age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Supervisor Dan Marshall (South Bristol), who chairs the board’s Health and Human Services Committee, laid the matter over until the board’s Aug. 23 meeting. Vice Chairman Bob Green (Bristol) noted that four supervisors are on vacation, including Chairman Jack Marren (Victor).

“This issue is too important and we need the full board to vote on it,” Green said.

There was a public hearing on the topic at last night’s meeting, and several people spoke in favor of the proposed law while two opposed it. The hearing started with a presentation by Mary Beer, the county’s public health director and a big proponent of the law.

Beer said she started dabbling with cigarettes when she was 15 and became a regular smoker in college. She smoked for years before quitting 20 years ago.

“I became an addict. Smoking was one of the biggest regrets of my life,” she said. “I still worry about my future. That is one reason I’m really passionate about this topic.”

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