The last gasps of Bloomberg's nanny state?

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.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: San Diego's Trolley
    Transportation

    Out of Darkness, Light Rail!

    In an era of austere federal funding for urban public transportation, light rail seemed to make sense. Did the little trains of the 1980s pull their own weight?

  2. photo: Developer James Rouse visiting Harborplace in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
    Life

    What Happened to Baltimore’s Harborplace?

    The pioneering festival marketplace was among the most trendsetting urban attractions of the last 40 years. Now it’s looking for a new place in a changed city.

  3. Design

    Before Paris’s Modern-Day Studios, There Were Chambres de Bonne

    Tiny upper-floor “maids’ rooms” have helped drive down local assumptions about exactly how small a livable home can be.

  4. photo: San Francisco skyline
    Equity

    Would Capping Office Space Ease San Francisco’s Housing Crunch?

    Proposition E would put a moratorium on new commercial real estate if affordable housing goals aren’t met. But critics aren’t convinced it would be effective.   

  5. Equity

    What ‘Livability’ Looks Like for Black Women

    Livability indexes can obscure the experiences of non-white people. CityLab analyzed the outcomes just for black women, for a different kind of ranking.

×