Proposal to raise cigarette age limit in NYC

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn’t the only city official who has placed a bull’s-eye on cigarettes.

A proposal introduced Monday by the New York City Council would raise the age limit for buying cigarettes. The proposed law would raise the minimum age for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21 years old, according to the Associated Press.

Under federal law, no one under 18 can buy tobacco anywhere in the country, but some states and localities have raised it to 19. Public health advocates say a higher minimum age discourages, or at least delays, young people from starting smoking and thereby limits their health risks, according to the AP.

Last month, Bloomberg proposed legislation that would require stores to put cigarettes out of public sight and increase penalties on the smuggling and illegal sales of cigarettes.

Since taking office in 2002, Bloomberg’s administration has 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, according to the AP.

The age minimum proposal, however, arose from the city council, not Bloomberg.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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