New York – The City Council has voted to raise the minimum legal age to buy cigarettes in New York City from 18 to 21.
The measure passed 35-10.
It’s the latest effort by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to target the cigarette industry. Supporters believe the older age would discourage young people from starting early.
“This disease took my mother because she started smoking when she was 18, and it’s taken many other people’s mothers,” said City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Queens).
Once Bloomberg signs the bill, it will be the first law of its kind in the nation, but Gennaro predicts other parts of the country will follow New York City.
“Why are we doing this?” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan). “Well, let’s look at the data. Eighty percent of adult smokers in New York City started before age 21.”
“I think that’s how it should be,” one man told CBS 2′s Alice Gainer. “I think you should be 21. I think when you’re 18, you just got out of high school. You don’t really know life yet.”
“I think if they raise the limit, it would stop a lot of people from smoking,” said another man.
But critics say the bill won’t make a difference.
“I think people will still find a way to get cigarettes,” said smoker Rose Leonardo.
Read more at CBS NEW YORK.