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Albany Co. Leg. passes tobacco sale ban

ALBANY County legislators voted 21-17 to become the first county in New York to ban sales of tobacco products in retail stores with a pharmacy by March 1.

Supporters of the law argued it would limit exposure for children and avoid sending the wrong message to consumers. It follows CVS announcement earlier this year to ban sales within its stores by October 1.

The only opposition during Mondays public comment session came from retail groups, which argued it would hurt stores.

This would be the first county to do this so they're really rolling the dice with their fiscal books, said Mike Rosen with the Food Industry Alliance of New York. They're not banning tobacco sales. They're just choosing in which venues it will be sold.

The law has been up for consideration for two years and only recently gained momentum for a vote.

It now goes to County Executive Dan McCoy for approval. A spokesperson for McCoy said he is required to hold his own public hearing before deciding whether to veto it. If he does veto the law at least five legislators would have to change their votes to override it.

Supporters said the ban is a step in the right direction.

I think its hard because patients trying to quit have to decide whether to buy nicotine replacement therapy, said Pharmacist Jessica Ramich, who supported the ban. Since cigarettes cost less than therapy then you see people buy cigarettes.