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
National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox beat White Sox…

Red Sox walk 15 times in extra innings win

NBA

Kris Humphries on free agency, future with Celtics:…

Kris Humphries on free agency, future with Celtics: 'I hope to be back'

NBA

Celtics turn attention to NBA Draft, improve lottery…

Celtics turn attention to NBA Draft, improve lottery odds with loss

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.