You Won’t Be Able To Buy Cigarettes In NYC If You’re Under 21 Anymore

The New York City Council passed a first-of-its-kind bill Wednesday that would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21.

1. The New York City council has voted to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21, according to the Associated Press.

Eric Thayer / Reuters

2. The city’s age limit has been 18, a federal minimum that’s standard in many places.

Eric Thayer / Reuters

“This, I believe, is the next big thing for the city, and hopefully for the state and for the country,” the proposal’s sponsor, City Councilman James Gennaro, said before Wednesday’s vote.

3. The new restriction is a continuation of Mayor Bloomberg’s policies to impose some of the highest cigarette taxes in the country, bar smoking in restaurants, bars, parks and beaches and sometimes graphic advertising campaigns about the effects of smoking.

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

4. The decision has angered smoking rights groups.

merznatalia/merznatalia / Getty Images

“In order to control smoking by those younger than 18, this older age group is rewarded for their vote by stripping them of the very adulthood that allowed them to vote for these politicians in the first place,” says NYC CLASH, a smokers-rights group that has sued the city over other smoking restrictions.

5. E-cigarette makers, who say their products are healthier than tobacco, also bristled.

Charles Platiau / Reuters

“Is 21 the right number? People can join the Army at 18,” said Ray Story, founder of the Atlanta-based Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, to the AP.

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