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

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

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."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

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.