New York City to raise legal age for buying tobacco to 21

Change will go into effect six months after Mayor Michael Bloomberg signs bill.
Posted By Evan Bleier  |  Oct. 31, 2013 at 9:25 AM
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(UPI) -- It’s going to be even tougher to smoke tobacco in New York City after the City Council adopted a bill on Wednesday to raise the tobacco-buying age from 18 to 21.

After Mayor Michael Bloomberg signs the Council’s bill into law, it will take six months for the minimum age requirement go into effect. After the law is on the books, individuals will have to be 21 to purchase all tobacco products, including cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos.

The Bloomberg administration believes that raising the age limit will stop people from becoming addicted to tobacco.

“This is literally legislation that will save lives,” said Council speaker Christine C. Quinn.

Other antismoking measures, like outlawing cigarette coupons and setting a minimum price of $10.50 for a pack of cigarettes, were also approved by the Council.

Some states have raised the smoking age to 19 and a suburb outside of Boston, Needham, Mass., instituted a smoking age of 21 in 2005.

Councilman Jumaane Williams opposed the decision. According to Williams, it is unfair to allow people to serve as police officers or firefighters but then afford them “no ability to buy a pack of cigarettes.”

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