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Syracuse passes law aimed at preventing youth smoking

Sudipto Sarkar

Syracuse Common Councilors approved a law this week meant to make it harder for youth to buy smoking or vaping products from convenience stores.

The legislation attacks the issue of kids getting tobacco products in corner stores, by requiring these stores to get a new city license. Ultimately the legislation would reduce the density of stores by capping the number of licenses at 198. Going forward the city would issue only one license for every two stores that close.

Syracuse Common Councilor Pat Hogan said exposure to vaping and cigarette products leads to more youth getting addicted to nicotine.

"We particularly worry about the younger folks in this community," Hogan said. "And it's really incongruous that we have stores so close to schools that explicitly advertise tobacco products."

Hogan said it is ultimately a community health issue.

“Unfortunately, when people take it up early, it stays with them sometimes for the rest of their lives," Hogan said. "And it's interesting, the community at large, that we address these health issues that arise when people smoke 40 or 50 or 60 years. They start young.”

Convenience stores already have to get a license from the state to operate. Opponents call the new law redundant and wasteful and something that will ultimately hurt family-owned businesses. The law goes into effect immediately.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.