NYC proposes age limit of 21 on buying cigarettes
New York put forward a proposal on Monday that, if adopted, would make it the first major city to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes from 18 to 21 — the same age for buying alcohol.
The proposal is part of a decade-long, anti-tobacco campaign by outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has imposed some of the highest cigarettes taxes in the country, banned smoking in parks and run graphic ads on the hazards of smoking. Last month, his administration proposed a requirement that stores keep cigarettes out of sight unless an adult customer asks for them.
“That will literally save lives,” New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said about the new bid to raise the age for buying — but not necessarily using or possessing — tobacco products. “The more difficult it is for (young people) to gain access to tobacco products, the less likely they are to start smoking.”
Quinn, a leading mayoral candidate who's pushing the proposal along with Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, says 80 percent of the city's smokers started before age 21.
Although at least four states — Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey and Utah — have raised the legal buying age to 19, the Boston suburb of Needham, Mass., appears to be the only U.S. city so far to raise the minimum to 21. Federal law bans tobacco sales to those younger than 18.
Public health advocates have welcomed the city's leadership in fighting tobacco use, noting its adult smoking rate has fallen from 21.5 percent in 2002 to 14.8 percent in 2011 — well below the national average of 19.3 percent.
“This proposal builds on the unprecedented progress New York City has made in reducing smoking,” said Susan M. Liss, executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an anti-smoking group that receives funding from Bloomberg, a billionaire.
Critics have complained that some of the measures are bad for business. Last year, a federal appeals court said the city couldn't force tobacco retailers to display gruesome images of decaying teeth and diseased lungs.
Bloomberg required chain restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus and restaurants to ban trans fats. He attempted to limit the size of sugary drinks like soda, but a court struck down the proposal last month. Bloomberg has encouraged voluntary compliance while the city appeals the ruling.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ky. clerk defies courts on gay marriage
- CIA joins special ops in secret terrorist hunt in Syria
- Defense Secretary Carter was closing Guantanamo prison being considered, ceding base to Cuba isn’t
- Kentucky clerk invokes ‘God’s authority,’ still refuses gay marriage licenses
- Postal Service falls short of slower mail delivery standards
- Thousands in New Orleans became targets of unscrupulous contractors
- 13 states spared EPA regulation of waterways
- Quarter-million without power as Pacific Northwest jolted by wind
- Lost hiker survived 9 days with broken leg in California’s Sierra Nevada
- Clinton: Women ‘expect’ extremism from terrorists, not GOP candidates
- Obama marks Hurricane Katrina anniversary in New Orleans visit