The NYC Mayor, Michael Bloomberg has implemented a new law according to which the legal age for buying cigarettes has been raised from 18 to 21. Thus anyone who is even a month short of reaching 21 years of age will not be able to buy cigarettes in New York City. The major reason behind this move is that tobacco is addictive and most of all it takes so many lives each year through cancer. It is hoped that other states and the rest of the world will follow suit after the enactment of this law. The stringent law will start being implemented from the middle of the hot month of May when Bloomberg steps down from his stint as Mayor.
“People always try to put things like selling cigarettes in the context of jobs and whether or not it helps or hurts stores. I think that is just so outrageously misplaced. This is an issue of whether we’re going to kill people. This century a billion people will die from smoking around the world. And we don’t want any of the people to die to be New Yorkers,” Mr. Bloomberg said at a bill-signing ceremony at City Hall on Tuesday.
It is indeed an about-turn by Mayor Bloomberg who previously opposed such legislative efforts. Himself a former smoker, Bloomberg has since quit the bad habit and has urged kids and young adults to stop smoking.
Thomas Farley, the city’s commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said, “The best ways to reduce smoking among young people is to raise cigarette taxes because cigarette taxes have been shown to directly impact the younger people’s ability to buy cigarettes.”
However, there are voices of dissent. Although many people are contrite over having started smoking in the first place, they say that such draconian laws will only push demand from legal channels into the hands of the black market’s shady dealers.
People will start buying in bulk and kids will probably resort to stealing from their parents’ supplies. Besides, the law will probably hurt the economy and cause widespread discontent among the public. But the Mayor is adamant that tobacco kills and sales of it to minors must be put to an end.