About 2 weeks ago, I had Carolyn Torella, Regional Communications Director in the Hudson Valley American Heart Association on our weekly public affairs show, In Touch.

On the show, she talked about efforts throughout New York to raise the age at which someone could buy cigarettes from 18 to 21. She talked about the fact that research showed how by taking this one simple step, millions of lives could be saved.

While 9 other counties in New York have already enacted Tobacco 21 legislation, Friday morning, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus signed this into law for Orange County to become effective on June 1 of this year. The Orange County Legislature had unanimously approved the proposal in December of last year.

With this new law, retailers could be fined $300 to $1000 for the first offense of selling tobacco products to anyone below the age of 21, it goes up to $500 to $1500 for further violations.

According to the Office of the Orange County Executive and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5.6 million of today's youth who begin smoking at the age of 18, or earlier, will die early from smoking related illnesses. This can help save lives.