Teenage Smokers in NYC, Quit Now
The Big Apple will be the first major American city to change the smoking age from 18 to 21.
An 18-year-old New Yorker can enlist in the army and fight in a war, but he's breaking the law if he celebrates his homecoming with celebratory cigarettes if he's under 21.
New York City Council voted to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes to 21, and will be the first major American city to do so. The bill is waiting Mayor Mike Bloomberg's signature, but it's obvious that the soda-banning health crusader will give his stamp of approval against selling cancer sticks.
The legislation, approved by Council 35 to 10, raises the minimum smoking age for all tobacco products, including cigars, flavored cigarettes, and even electronic cigarettes, which delivers nicotine with vapor instead of smoke.
“We know that tobacco dependence can begin very soon after a young person first tries smoking, so it’s critical that we stop young people from smoking before they ever start,” Bloomberg said in a statement after the vote. “By increasing the smoking age to 21, we will help prevent another generation from the ill health and shorter life expectancy that comes with smoking.”
After Bloomberg's signature, the minimum age bill will take effect 180 days after enactment. Better stack up, 18-year-olds! (Actually don't, because cigarettes are terrible for your health).
Smoking has been Bloomberg's cornerstone agenda since becoming mayor. The Big Apple is one of the least smoke-friendly cities in the nation, where cigs are banned at bars, restaurants, beaches, parks and other public places.
Cigarette manufacturers are suggesting that young adults will just turn to the black market. Additionally, a coalition of bodegas and tobacco store owners funded by tobacco-manufactures are also crying foul for the Council's vote.
But is the law a little too late? Smoking among young people is actually on the decline.
The new age limit is designed to keep young adults from the habit, but the council's legislation does not include a ban on marijuana paraphernalia even though more teens actually smoke weed than cigarettes.
Young people are smoking fewer cigarettes every year, as weed is growing as the drug of choice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 23 percent of high-school seniors got high on pot in the last month while only 17 percent smoked cigarettes, an all-time low.
"For decades, the number of teens who smoke has been on the decline. Marijuana use has fluctuated, and recently rose," the Associated Press reported from the findings. "At times, pot and cigarette smoking were about the same level, but last year marked the first time marijuana use was clearly greater."
Do you agree with banning 18-year-olds from buying cigarettes?