Today, New York City May Raise the Age to Buy Cigarettes to 21

The last gasps of Bloomberg's nanny state?

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Grease

Depending on how a City Council vote goes down today, you might need to be 21 to purchase cigarettes in New York City. The City Council is expected to vote today on a measure that would raise the smoking age in the city, where it's getting harder and harder to smoke every day, to 21. And if it passes, it will take aim at the cool kids in high school (yes some things never change, the cool kids in high school still smoke) who are starting their countdowns to lung cancer. 

"Why are we doing this? Well let's look at the data. Eighty percent of adult smokers in New York City started before age 21," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is quoted as saying in a report from CBS New York.  The measure also includes e-cigarettes, and is seen as one more battle in Mayor Michael Bloomberg ongoing mission to make smoking in New York as difficult and expensive as possible. "Over his years in office, the city — at times with the council's involvement — helped impose the highest cigarette taxes in the country, barred smoking at parks and on beaches and conducted sometimes graphic advertising campaigns about the hazards of smoking," NBC New York reported, adding that officials say adult smoking rates in the city are currently at 14.8 percent versus 21.5 percent nine years ago. 

Federal law says that the smoking age is 18 — meaning young people born in 1995 are allowed to buy cigarettes right now — but cities and municipalities are allowed to raise that age. In ancient Greek states some places the age is 19, and in Needham, Mass. you have be 21. And if the City Council votes to pass the measure today, New York City would become the biggest city in the country put the 21-year-old age requirement on cigarettes.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.

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