The New York City Smoking Age Is Officially 21 Now

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Photo Credit: theirhistory via Compfight cc
Dear smug 19-year-olds: Mayor Bloomberg has finally got your number. He has just signed a law raising the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. The City Council passed the legislation in October by a margin of 35 to 10. Outgoing Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas A Farley proposed the age hike in April, hoping to target would-be smokers at the age at which they are most likely to develop a nicotine addiction. The new law makes New York the first major city in America with such tight restrictions.

See also: New York City Council Approves Cigarette Purchase Age Change from 18 to 21

Bloomberg also signed a law to curb cigarette tax evasion. The mayor's office promised to levy harsher punishments and to recapture that lost income, totaling $500 million lost to New York State in 2009. The new law will also help to make competition between cigarette sellers more fair.

"Cigarette tax evasion puts law-abiding retailers at a competitive disadvantage relative to retailers and street sellers selling untaxed cigarettes," says the Mayor's office in a statement.

The laws do not take effect for another 180 days. Dear NYU freshmen, stock up while you still can.

Send your story tips to the author, Raillan Brooks.


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9 comments
ajax151
ajax151

This is probably the single dumbest thing that Nanny Bloomberg ever did, not counting the proposed large soda ban that got struck down before it went into effect.    All it will do is increase the size of the already large black market for untaxed/out-of-state/stolen/counterfeit cigarettes, and further enrich mobsters and terrorists.  Also, businesses in Westchester, Long Island, and New Jersey will be booming while taking business away from legitimate NYC businesses.  DUH!

 While smoking is a stupid and filthy habit, not to mention deadly, the fact remains that 18-20 year olds are legal adults, for better or worse.  Old enough to fight and vote = old enough to drink and smoke.  Pick one age and stick with it already!

Goodbye and good riddance, Bloomberg.  Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Lisa Lawter
Lisa Lawter

What is next, he going to outlaw cheese and butter? Better watch out, there goes your business. LOL

Lisa Lawter
Lisa Lawter

oh, I am sorry. I thought we lived in a free country. My bad.

Barraud Caterers Limited
Barraud Caterers Limited

So is it OK to smoke & get some sort of disease that we tax payers pay for, knowing that most smokers start before 21?

Christopher Moser
Christopher Moser

I wonder how much money they are going to make on fines and how much trouble they will start by harassing people and putting them in handcuffs.

Lisa Lawter
Lisa Lawter

so an 18 year old is considered an adult and can go to war for this country but he cannot purchase a pack of cigarettes? Bloomberg needs to quit trying to be everyone's Mommy and do his job.

ajax151
ajax151

@Barraud Caterers Limited Smokers pay taxes too, and probably more than you do.  And guess what?  Studies show that smokers actually SAVE society money by dying younger.  And any age limit higher than the age of majority (18) is arbitrary and has no place in a free society.

ajax151
ajax151

@Christopher Moser Fortunately, this new law (like the old one) only applies to purchase/sale, not possession or consumption.  But don't worry, I'm sure they will add that on when they see what a failure the 21 age limit will be.

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