Which Local Council Members Voted For Raising The Smoking Age To 21?

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A new law raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old has been kicking around the City Council for more than three years, but most New York City residents didn’t hear about it until yesterday, when the legislative body gave its seal of approval.

If Mayor Michael Bloomberg signs the bill, as he’s expected to do, smokers younger than 21 years old will be banned from purchasing tobacco products in New York City. It’s among the highest age limits in the nation.

The bill passed 35-10, and includes e-cigarettes.

When the new law takes effect, shops found selling to people under age will face a $1,000 fine. On second offense, fines go up to $2,000, and the store may have its license revoked if additional offenses are committed within a three-year period.

Of the 10 Council members opposed to the new law, all were representatives from boroughs outside of Manhattan, and five were from Brooklyn.

With the exception of Charles Barron, who represents East New York, all of the Brooklyn opponents hailed from Southern Brooklyn.

Here’s how they voted:

  • Vincent Gentile (Bay Ridge – Bensonhurst): Against
  • David Greenfield (Bensonhurst – Borough Park): For
  • Jumaane Williams (Midwood – Flatbush): Against
  • Lew Fidler (Marine Park – Canarsie): Absent
  • Domenic Recchia (Coney Island – Gravesend): Against
  • Michael Nelson (Sheepshead Bay – Brighton Beach): Against

Although Fidler was absent for health reasons, we believe he would have voted against the age increase. Fidler previously opposed expanding the smoking ban to beaches and parks, as well as banning flavored tobacco products.

That means David Greenfield is the only Southern Brooklyn Council member to support the bill, and had Fidler voted (the way we think he would have), more than half the opposition would have hailed from our end of the borough.

Do Southern Brooklyn residents love smoking more than the rest of New York City? You tell us.

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  1. The smoking ban in parks is a joke. I’d like to see the NYPD stats on how many NYers have been fined for violating the rule. There oughta be a “Stop & Extinguish” program to nail the violators.
    Last summer, I saw sporadic cigarette and cigar smokers puffing away to their lungs’ content in Marine Park.

    Unless politicians are smokers themselves, I don’t understand how they recklessly want to put others at risk from secondhand smoke.

  2. I don’t think its that Southern Brooklyn residents love smoking more then the rest of NYC because this effects the 18-21 year-old crowd which largely isn’t really heard anyway.

    Having said that, I think the law is just as ridiculous as the over 21 drinking age laws. America is one of only two countries which has an over 21 drinking policy, and we’ve all heard the “how can you be old enough to die for your country but can’t have a beer” line to the point that its become cliche, but its still worth mentioning again and again because its the truth.I was no less capable of making a decision about my health at 18 than I was at 21.

  3. It is a joke. So “morning after” pills are fine to be given to teenage girls, anyone can join army since 18, get married and have kids even earlier and on and on. They increased price on cigarettes! who suffers? business owners! People even younger than 18 still smoke and buy cigarettes from out of state. To stop people from smoking, education is important not stupid laws

  4. Southern Brooklyn is our Staten Island where they have the greatest number of “less government” values. The question is not “who loves smoking more?”, it’s “who loves less intrusive government more?”

    BTW, thanks for pointing out this very interesting stat.

  5. Whether it was the monarchy, the Jacobians, the Communists, the National Socialists, right, or left: each rise to power by a brutal oppressive regime is under the guise of overpowering individual rights “for the good of the people”. And if one steps back, one can clearly see the trend developing here. And with the approval of many people.

  6. teenage girls and boys can make decisions at ages under 18 (13?) as far as having sex, birth control being given out. But they may not smoke. Well, at least they cannot light up after sex. Oh lord, what’s going on in their minds.

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