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Tobacco-Buying Age To Be Raised To 21 In NY

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New York City will soon become the latest to raise the tobacco-buying age to 21, and smokers are not happy about it.

The city council voted to approve the law on Wednesday night, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg has 30 days to sign it. 180 days after that, the law will go into affect. The news has people buzzing; many are angry that the age of 18 is considered informed enough to vote but not to choose whether or not to smoke legally.

“By increasing the smoking age to 21, we will help prevent another generation from the ill health and shorter life expectancy that comes with smoking,” Bloomberg said. “We know that tobacco dependence can begin very soon after a young person first tries smoking so it’s critical that we stop young people from smoking before they ever start.”

NYC is now the largest city to enact such a change to an age as high as 21; neighboring states and cities have raised the age to 19 in recent years. The bill is the latest measure in Bloomberg’s effort to encourage healthy living in New Yorkers; last year the mayor pushed a ban on large sugary drinks in restaurants, although it was later repealed by a Supreme Court judge.

The tobacco changes–which include enforcing the age limit on electronic cigarettes and prohibits discounts on tobacco products–will also set minimum prices on cigarettes. Many members of the New York City Council back the law completely.

“This will literally save many, many lives,” said City Councilman James Gennaro, the bill’s sponsor. Gennero’s parents both succumbed to tobacco-related illnesses. “I’ve lived with it, I’ve seen it…but I feel good today.”

The law comes after a failed attempt by the mayor to keep cigarettes out of sight in stores until a customer requests them.

Image: Thinkstock

Tobacco-Buying Age To Be Raised To 21 In NY
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  • Wow

    While I absolutely hate cigarettes, I will say this law is stupid. Here is the reality of life — if people want to do something, they will find a way to do it. I have seen environments where they literally banned cigarettes. Here is what happened — a black market trade took root. The price of cigarettes went through the roof — but people still smoked.

    The other thing that bothers me is that I can go die for my country in absolutely senseless wars that are really not doing a dang thing. I can lose my life over nothing — but I can’t smoke or drink.

    And for those out there that think our wars are necessary and actually accomplish something I only say this: make a law that requires all the children of politicians to fight on the front lines and then see how many wars we get into. Heck, make a law that requires politicians to fight and see how many wars we get into. Politicians are great at sending other people to die, but trust me, they wouldn’t make the same decisions if their skin was on the line.

    Having said all that — I hate smoking. It is useless and it is not healthy. I have seen a lot of people suffer because of it. But I can say the same thing about alcohol too. The legal age for that is 21, but we have an epidemic of teen age drinking in this nation — look how effective that program was.

  • patti therese

    that’s awsomeI am a former smoker I think all the states should have to do the same

  • Yep

    So if I hear and read right, people under the age of 21 can still buy tobacco, but they can’t buy cigarettes. So, essentially people could just get tobacco and roll their own cigarettes. The devil is in the details. Just like the guy said on the video — all this does is make money for the black market. The black market of course probably gives a kick back to the mayor. The state will lose money. Kids will still smoke. The black market makes money. The mayor will get a kick back. Bravo.