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

Source: SuperFantastic via Flickr

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. Yes, a report was actually published over the past 5 years stating that south Brooklyn has the highest number of smokers (in terms of percent of people in the neighborhood smoking) in the whole city!

  2. At 18 one may vote, drive a car in NYC and possibly die in Afghanistan…but they are not “adult” enough to make choices about alcohol and cigarettes. EDUCATION not Prohibition is the intelligent answer. Kudos to those who voted against this absurdity.

  3. I agree 100%. I am not at all in favor of smoking or children smoking, etc. but the fact that the government feels as though someone who is not old enough to smoke a cigarette or drink a beer is old enough to comprehend the responsibilities of defending and/or dying for your country (and more importantly to distinguish whether they agree with the reasons for doing so) defies logic.

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