New York City is now the biggest city in the country to raise the cigarette-purchasing age to 21. By a vote of 35-10, New York City's City Council voted to raise the age you need to be to buy tobacco, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, and cigarillos by three years. That means there will be people in New York who have the ability to help decide on the next president of the United States and fight in wars, but won't be able to purchase cigarettes in the city.
The only thing that's standing in the way from making New York City into the strictest major American city on tobacco is a signature from Mayor Michael Bloomberg. And unless he's had a lobotomy, that seems all but given. In his years as mayor, Bloomberg has done things like raise taxes, barred smoking at parks and beaches, and pushed commercials containing graphic images (like smokers who had their fingers amputated because of their habit) thus making New York City one of the most difficult and most expensive places to smoke.
Thanks to these measures, officials say that the adult smoking rate has dropped to 14.8 percent, down from 21.5 percent nine years ago. That decline is close to the national smoking rate, which over the same period dropped from 20.9 percent to 18 percent. "This is literally legislation that will save lives," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said just before the one-sided vote.
The law will go into effect six months after it gets Bloomberg's signature.