This past Tuesday, November 19th, New York City made a huge step towards a decline in cigarette addiction by becoming the first major city in the U.S. to increase the legal tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed this new legislation despite criticism from nay-sayers claiming that this new law will not only result in a loss of income for convenience stores, but also the possible loss of jobs. The Mayor, a former smoker himself, responded that this law is about saving lives, and that those who are opposing should feel ashamed.
Statistics show that a staggering 80% of smokers fall into the habit before the age of 21. City officials estimate that there are approximately 27,000 smokers between the ages of 18 and 20 in NYC alone. With the most common age to start smoking being 18, this new law will hopefully put an end to cigarette experimentation at younger ages and make obtaining cigarettes more of an inconvenience for those who are underage.
Additionally, the mayor signed legislation making the minimum price of cigarettes in the city $10.25 per pack, while simultaneously prohibiting “buy-one-get-one” and other kinds of cigarette deals or coupons. With cigarette taxes in NYC already the highest in the nation, this standard price and prohibition of sales and deals will also hopefully work towards turning away the purchasing of cigarettes.
While this new law doesn’t prohibit people under the age of 21 from possessing tobacco products if they were purchased outside the city, it does show a step in the right direction for the ultimate goal of a cigarette-free future!