BY Erin Durkin
signed a bill into law Tuesday raising the legal age to buy cigarettes
from 18 to 21 -- making New York the first major city in the country to
enact such a restrictive law.
The law will take effect in 180 days after Bloomberg put his signature on the measure, passed by the City Council last month.
Bloomberg said it “will prevent young people, we think, from experimenting with tobacco when they are most likely to become addicted.”
“People always try to put things like selling cigarettes in the
context of jobs and whether or not it helps or hurts stores,” Bloomberg
said. “I think that’s so outrageously misplaced. This is an issue of
whether we’re going to kill people.”
The bill had long been pushed by sponsor Councilman James Gennaro
(D-Queens), who was inspired to act by the death of his mother from
lung cancer and urged Bloomberg, who had once opposed a similar measure,
to get on board.
“It will protect our teenagers from getting addicted before they
realize it,” said Health Commissioner Tom Farley. “We’re going to look
back on today as another major advance against the world’s most
Bloomberg also signed a bill to set a minimum price of $10.50 for
cigarettes, prohibit discount offers, and step up enforcement against
evasion of cigarette taxes.
It was the last in a slew of public health crusades for the outgoing mayor - from banning smoking
in bars in restaurants and later parks and beaches to requiring
restaurants to post calorie counts, prohibiting trans fats, and making
an attempt currently blocked in the courts to limit sugary drinks to 16 ounces.
Some of the efforts have earned him derision for running a “nanny
state” - but for the crowd at the bill signing, it was an opportunity to
take a victory lap and lavish praise on the mayor’s public health
“Years from now, we’re going to look back at the last 12 years as a
golden age of public policy with regards to health,” said Dr. Andrew
Racine of Montefiore Medical Center.
“I venture to say that the Bloomberg administration has had more
impact on the health of the citizens of this city than all of his
predecessors combined, with the possible exception of whoever invented
the sewage system.”
Edited by tatee - Nov 21 2013 at 11:51am