New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas A. Farley has issued a proposal that would raise the minimum age to buy cigarettes in the city to 21. Farley's proposal was also sanctioned by City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, as reported by the New York Times and other media outlets on Monday.
Farley's proposal follows other similar health initiatives that have been put into practice since Mayor Michael Bloomberg was elected to office. Recently a law that would have banned large-size sugary drinks in theaters and other venues was struck down after being criticized for impinging on personal freedoms. The city has since appealed the decision.
Here is some of the key information that emerged on Monday regarding the proposal to raise the legal age to buy cigarettes in New York City.
* As noted by the New York Times, Bloomberg has already put into place laws that ban smoking in restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and other public places.
* Bloomberg has also proposed banning stores from being able to stock cigarettes where they are visible to customers.
* Farley's proposal would make it illegal for a person under the age of 21 to purchase cigarettes, but it would not make it illegal for them to possess them or smoke them.
* The City Council officially debuted the proposal on Monday. City officials said that they were specifically trying to target the 18-21 age bracket, because studies have shown that eight out of 10 smokers in the city began the habit during those key years, according to Reuters.
* Quinn told Reuters and other media outlets that by limiting the access to tobacco products of that age group that the City Council felt that politicians would be "decreasing the likelihood they ever start smoking, and thus, creating a healthier city."
* The proposal reportedly has the full backing of the mayor. Bloomberg did not speak at the proposal's introduction on Monday, however, authorizing Farley to do so on his behalf.
* Although some smaller communities have been successful in raising the legal age to buy cigarettes to 21, a similar proposal introduced recently in Texas failed. If New York City is successful in implementing such a law, it would be the biggest municipality in the United States to do so, as noted by the Associated Press.
* The proposal reportedly has the support of several City Council members, including Quinn and Councilman James Gennaro.Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in health and nutrition issues.
- Politics & Government
- City Council