The Tobacco 21 Law is a nationwide effort to get the legal smoking age raised from 18 to 21. Several counties in New York have already approved the law, and now, the Hudson Valley has seen its first county take that step

Orange County signed legislation back in January to enact Tobacco 21, and it went into effect at the beginning of June. The law was unanimously approved by the Orange County Legislature.

Under the new law, retailers who sell to tobacco to people under 21 could be fined up to a thousand dollars for a first offense and even more than that for repeat violations. The new law could help significantly decrease the number of smokers, and in turn, the number of smoking-related diseases and deaths. If it's more difficult for people to obtain cigarettes, it's only logical that fewer people will smoke them.

I believe we're going to see more counties in the area adopt Tobacco 21 very soon. Sullivan County signed it into law in April, which should go into effect in the coming months. Do you think your town is going to be next?