Politicians in New York are looking to break ground by making New York the first state to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21. The New York Daily News is reporting that State Senator Diane Savino, an admitted ex-smoker, is leading the push to make it harder for teenagers to get their hands on tobacco products.
“If I could prevent one kid, one kid from ever developing that habit, this legislation is worth it. We’re going to get this passed and we are going to become a state where you can’t buy cigarettes unless you are over the age of 21,” the Daily News reported Savino saying.
As cigarette prices continue to climb in New York City, politicians are also looking to extend the price hikes state wide to prevent cross county purchases. Savino stressed the importance of these measures.
“Young people will go across the border. All of the cigarette sellers in the other counties said, ‘That’s great! You want to raise the age in New York City, they’ll just come to Nassau, they’ll come to Suffolk, they’ll come to Westchester, they’ll come to Rockland.”
These hard-line tobacco measures also have the backing of Council Speaker and mayoral front-runner Christine Quinn.
As for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is famous for his stern stances on public health issues, he was originally against the proposed bump in the smoking age but changed his mind, according to a report in the New York Post.
“Anything you can do to make it harder for teenagers to get hooked is a great contribution to their lives for the rest of their lives,” he said.
An aide who discussed the issue with the mayor said his only remaining concern was that the smoking age would be higher than the age for joining the military, which is 18.
When it was pointed out that the drinking age here is 21, the matter was settled.
“He signed off on it quickly,” said one source. “It was literally a five-minute conversation.”