City proposes raising minimum age for tobacco purchase

A man smokes a cigarette in front of a no-smoking sign. (Credit: Getty Images)
New smoking legislation looks to raise the age to buy cigarettes to 21. Credit: Getty Images.

The city is cracking down on smoking again, this time by proposing to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21.

The City Council is taking up legislation that would make New York City the first major city in the nation to have a minimum smoking age above 19 years.

Several towns in the country have raised the tobacco purchase age to 21, including Needham, Massachusetts in 2005, and Canton, Massachusetts earlier this month.

According to Council Speaker Christine Quinn, one of the bill’s greatest proponents, many smokers in New York City start smoking before the age of 21. Her hope is that this legislation could minimize that number.

“By delaying our city’s children and young adults access to lethal tobacco products, we’re decreasing the likelihood they ever start smoking,” Quinn said.

The legislation’s sponsor, Councilman James Gennaro, was emphatic about the benefits this legislation posed.

“When it comes to smoking, the science is clear,” Gennaro said. “The earlier you start, the harder it is for you to quit.”

Gennaro likened the proposal to the legislation in the 1980s that increased the minimum drinking age to 21 for the purpose of reducing drunk driving deaths. He noted that smoking not only claims American lives, but costs the country billions of dollars in health care needs.

Health Commissioner Thomas Farley noted that one-third of all smokers die from the habit.

“By raising the legal purchase age to 21, we will prevent a generation of New Yorkers from becoming addicted to smoking and ultimately save thousands of lives,” Farley declared.

The bill’s advocates estimated that raising the smoking age to 21 has the potential to reduced the smoking rate about 18-20 year olds by 55 percent, and among 14-17 year olds by two-thirds.

These figures come in part, they said, because 90 percent of the people who were asked by minors to purchase cigarettes for them were between the ages of 18 and 21.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a law last month that would require stores to keep cigarettes in concealed locations.

 

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.