New York City proposes to increase the minimum smoking age to 21 from 18.
Mayor Bloomberg, clearly no ally of tobacco, has already advocated restrictions on advertising and NYC has one of the country’s highest taxes.
This new proposal aims to prevent younger adults from smoking. “Our responsibility today is to do everything we can to reduce,” the number of young people who start smoking, said Christine Quinn – City Council Speaker. With City Council and Mayor Bloomberg’s support, the measure has the ability to pass.
A spokesman for the National Association of Convenience Stores (NATO) suggested younger smokers will buy from neighbouring communities or corner-store cigarette sellers instead depriving Convenience Stores of this revenue which is a significant portion of their store profits.
Youth smoking has declined to about 8.5% with high school students since 2007. Increasing the minimum age would also bar 18-21 year old friends from buying cigarettes for their friends.
The age limit is already 21 in Needham, MA, and the same change are not yet implemented in Canton MA. A similar proposal is on hold in Texas.
Altria and RJ Reynolds had no immediate comment.
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