Since the fight to raise the age for the purchase of cigarettes from 18 to 21 started in New York City, lawmakers in other states may soon be following suit. This is particularly of interest now given Mayor Bloomberg’s other plan to make stores conceal cigarettes in their store as discussed in a recent post here.
Should this bill that was introduced last Friday become law, the state of New York would become a pioneer. Other states have increased the age to 19, but not 21 (although a couple of towns have done that).
If passed, New York would become the first state to take this unprecedented move. Four states and some communities have increased the age to 19, and at least two towns have agreed to raise it to 21. According to State Senator Diane Savino, “anything we can do to stop young people from starting is a step in the right direction.” Given this, the proposal makes sense if the data assembled by City Council speaker Christine C. Quinn is anything to go by. She found that 80 percent of smokers begin the habit before they turn 21. Thus if they intervene by adjusting the law, this could have a significant impact on the health of these youngsters.