Just today, I came across an article posted at CNN regarding the New York City Council approving a law that would prevent customers from purchasing tobacco products until the age of 21.
In most states, customers must be at least 18 years of age in order to purchase tobacco; however, it is legal for persons under the age of 18 to smoke... hmmm...
This new bill not only prohibits the sale of tobacco products to those folks under 21, it prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes as well.
The mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, will have 30 days from the date of council approval, to sign the bill into law. Most feel that given his history of public health initiatives (e.g., Bloomberg's ban on big sodas), signing the bill won't be an issue.
"By increasing the smoking age to 21, we will help prevent another generation from the ill health and shorter life expectancy that comes with smoking," Bloomberg said in a statement.
Although the largest, New York City is not the first city to take on this tobacco initiative. Back in 2005, Needham, Mass., raised the sale age to 21. And other neighboring states and counties raised their tobacco sale age to 19. I wonder why this has become such an issue now.
While many public health advocates and city officials feel that this is a step in the right direction at preventing disease, including cancer, others feel their rights are being infringed upon.
When a person turns 18 years of age, they legally become an adult and have the right to vote, even serve in the military. So, needless to say, some New Yorkers are displeased with this new law and feel that if you are legally considered an adult, then you should be allowed to purchase a pack of cigarettes if you so choose.
What do you think? Would changing the sale age of tobacco nationwide reduce the incidence of tobacco-related disease? Could this new law prevent more teens from smoking to begin with?