Want to smoke a cigarette? You’ll have to be at least 21 to do that in the Big Apple.
The New York City Council voted to raise the tobacco-purchasing age from 18 to 21. The bill also sets a $10.50 minimum pack price for tobacco cigarettes and encourages law enforcement to monitor illegal tobacco sales.
“This will literally save many, many lives,” City Councilman James Gennaro said. “I’ve lived with it, I’ve seen it … but I feel good today.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been known for his public health advocacy, has thirty days to sing the bill into law. The new regulation would take effect 180 days after the mayor inks his name on the bill.
“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.
New York is one of few cities to increase the tobacco buying age to 21. New Jersey is considering a similar proposal.