Tuesday, April 23, 2013

NYC Smoking Age

NYC Smoking Age, New York City has been trying to combat smoking for years now and city officials have a new proposal to further that agenda: Raising the minimum age for buying cigarette.

According to The Associated Press, officials are proposing to raise the legal age of sale for cigarettes to 21 from 18. The proposal was unveiled by City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn and Dr. Thomas A. Farley, the city's health commissioner, on Monday...Reported...latintimes.

Dr. Farley, according to The New York Times, that there has been a plateau in the declining youth smoking rate after 10 years. City officials in favor of the measure have estimated that raising the age to 21 would reduce the smoking rate among 18- to 20-year-olds by 55 percent, and by two-thirds among 14- to 17-year-olds.

Quinn explains, reports the Associated Press, that raising the minimum age will prevent young people from adopting the potentially deadly habit. Officials have cited that a whopping 80 percent of the city's adult smokers started smoking before they turned 21. As such, hiking the legal age could potentially minimize the number of young adults who develop the habit.

Fortunately for advocates of the measure, there is international precedent which shows the effectiveness of the suggested change. A 2010 study in England found that there was a 30 percent decline in smoking amongst 16 and 17-year-olds after the minimum age for buying cigarettes was raised from 16 to 18 in 2007.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomerg, who had previously opposed a similar measure in 2006, is reportedly in support of this change after witnessing the plateau in the city's youth smoking rate. The Council is even considering a proposal by Bloomberg which would require retailers to stock tobacco products where customers cannot see them. The mayor stated that this measure would protect children from tobacco marketing and help them resist buying cigarettes on impulse.

"The mayor probably has the most effective public health agenda of any mayor in history in the United States," said Quinn, according to the New York Daily News. "This is another example of moving that aggressive public health agenda forward.

Naturally, smokers' rights advocate groups and retailers are opposed to this proposed measure and are questioning if the hike in minimum age will be an effective measure. Many opponents of the measure have also stated that hiking the minimum age will create a loss in tax revenue, but advocates have countered that measure by stating it will even out from the health care savings.

Thus far, four states and select communities have raised the age to 19.

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