Home / Health / Council OKs raising smoking age from 18 to 21

Council OKs raising smoking age from 18 to 21

 Cigarettes are displayed behind the counter of a convenient store in New York, March 18, 2013. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday proposed banning retail stores from displaying cigarettes as part of his effort to reduce smoking rates in the city. Bloomberg, who has taken aggressive steps to curb smoking in public places and promote health with various restrictions on restaurants, plans to introduce to the City Council on Wednesday two bills that would require retailers to keep cigarettes in a drawer or other concealed location. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS) - RTR3F61A

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Mayor Bloomberg’s assault on the smoking industry continues after he promised to sign a City Council law raising the minimum age to buy cigarettes and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21. New York is the first U.S. city to pass such a measure.

Opening a new front in the city’s war on smoking, the New York City Council voted Wednesday to hike the legal age for purchasing cigarettes to 21.

Mayor Bloomberg has promised to sign the bill, making it certain that New York will become the first major city in America to boost the minimum age for buying cigarettes to 21.

Thomas Farley, the city’s health and mental hygiene commissioner, said the law, the “Sensible Tobacco Enforcement Act, represents a “historic advance in our fight against New York City’s leading killer.”

RELATED: PHOTOS: TWIN STUDY SHOWS HOW SMOKERS AGE FASTER

City health officials say the change will prevent more teenagers from developing a smoking habit, saving lives. They cite research showing that more than 80% of smokers in New York began smoking before the age 21.

Cigarettes and e-cigarettes are covered by the age hike, which many officials laud as a progressive move to improve public health.

John Moore/Getty Images

Cigarettes and e-cigarettes are covered by the age hike, which many officials laud as a progressive move to improve public health.

About 7,000 New Yorkers die of smoking-related causes every year.

City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Queens), a sponsor of the legislation, voiced confidence the new law would block more young New Yorkers from becoming smokers.

RELATED: QUITTING SMOKING? IT’S PROBABLY MONDAY, STUDY FINDS

“We made great strides from 2001 to 2006 to bring down teen smoking,” he said, but “we’ve been plateaued since about 2007 and we need the next big thing, and this is the next big thing.”

He added, “We’re the first ones to act. Once we go I think the dominoes are going to fall, and I think this is a very good day for the city and ultimately for the state and for the country.”

City health officials cited research showing that more than 80% of smokers in New York began smoking before the age 21.

Mark Lennihan/ASSOCIATED PRESS

City health officials cited research showing that more than 80% of smokers in New York began smoking before the age 21.

The legislation raises the smoking age for all tobacco products, including cigars and flavored cigarettes.

RELATED: NYC SELLERS OF UNTAXED, COUNTERFEIT CIGS TO GET SHUTTERED

It also raises the minimum age for buying electronic cigarettes, which deliver a dose of nicotine with vapor instead of smoke.

Language to ban stores from displaying tobacco products, was dropped from the legislation earlier this week. The display ban was strongly opposed by retail groups like the Save Our Stores coalition, which argued it would hurt business.

Bloomberg administration officials insisted the measure was simply put on hold in order to sort out whether and how to include the e-cigarettes in the display ban.

The legislation raises the smoking age for all tobacco products, including cigars and flavored cigarettes.

Mark Lennihan/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The legislation raises the smoking age for all tobacco products, including cigars and flavored cigarettes.

RELATED: BLOOMBERG FAVORS BACON, PEANUT BUTTER ON WHITE BREAD

When it is enacted, the new law would add one more component to Bloomberg’s legacy of anti-smoking and public health initiatives.

Since he became mayor, the city has banned smoking in bars and restaurants and in public places, such as city beaches and parks.

Aides say Bloomberg was convinced to raise the smoking age by data from London showing a major decline in youth smoking after that city raised its minimum age to 21.

“We’ve seen jurisdictions like Nassau County, Suffolk County, the whole state of Jersey (raise the smoking age) to 19 and they made some headway but we looked at other places that have gone to 21 in other parts in the world and we saw that there was a big difference to be made by doing that,” Gennaro said.

mgay@nydailynews.com


Health – NY Daily News

About

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Scroll To Top