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The Call Blog: Mayor Bloomberg Signs Bills To Raise Smoking Age, Set Minimum Price For Cigarettes

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It's doubtful the law will really make a difference since, as mentioned by our viewers and the City itself, it doesn't ban those under 21 from actually smoking or having cigarettes, just buying it. While I suppose it may deter a few kids, most will find a way to get their hands on cigarettes. The real culprit is peer pressure in schools to smoke and the glamorization that goes along with smoking.



New York is about to become the first large city in the country to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. Mayor Bloomberg signed a bill into law today that raises the legal purchasing age from 18 to 21. The law takes effect in 180 days.

Mayor Bloomberg also signed legislation that sets a minimum price of $10.50 per pack for cigarettes. In addition, retailers are banned from offering coupons, 2-for-1 specials, or discounts. Health officials say 80 percent of smokers start before age 21. But opponents of the measure say small businesses will be hurt, and cigarettes will still be available on the black market. What do you say?

Do you agree with this law that raises the smoking age to 21? Will it make a difference in discouraging teenagers from lighting up? Should City government be involved in setting a price for products or banning discounts?

Send your thoughts using the link above.



I see kids that are under 18 smoking now. I don't think changing the age to 21 will change that. Let's face it, we were kids once and where there's a will, there's a way...

Tina
Brooklyn



I wish that I could say that upping the age for cigarettes will make any difference at all.
Children as young as 12 years old are already smoking marijuana, I have sat downwind of them on the subway.
I'd rather spend $10.50 on half of a Thanksgiving turkey and it feeds maybe 5 people.

Kathy
Throggs Neck



Young people will always find a way to smoke, and the more you try to ban it, the more attractive it becomes to skirt societal rules and regulations.

Felix
Bay Ridge



Considering that junior high school kids are smoking - I don't think what age the law says is the minimum, matters. Any child who wants to get cigarettes, gets them - there's always an older kid, willing to go in to the store and buy them. I see it all the time. Group of kids hanging outside a store, an older kid starts walking in- the kids ask the older kid - give him money to get them cigarettes and it's a done deal.

I do not believe that City government should be involved in setting a price for any products nor any discounts.

Bloomberg is so out of touch with the residents of this City, here we are thinking we can get through the next 42 days of him and he sits down and signs these bills.

There should be a law that once a politician is leaving office, they shouldn't be allowed to do anything that will affect the people after he/she is gone from the position.


Jessica
Arden Heights



War is bad for your health, but u are mandated to go at 18. Bloomberg is hurting small business and losing much needed tax revenue.

Roscoe
Park Hill



Again I say this is suppose to be the first state raising the age of smoking to 21.
I doubt that this will deter teenagers from purchasing cigarettes under the age of 21.

The black market will still be in existence and so as long as does the kids will still purchase however many packs or cartons they choose.

So once again this mayor is trying so hard to ad to his legacy and the operative word
is first.

Maxxiee
Morris Park



I agree with the law to raise the cigarette age to 21 and the price of cigarettes, i see to many young people smoking it causes cancer. The NYPD and ATF need to shut down the stores that are selling the cigarettes illegally to teens

Herman
Upper West Side



With Chairman Bloomberg-Chavez and his ilk, fascism continues to increase, spread and intensify in New York City.

What happened to the freedom to live your life as you choose and not be enslaved by the strutting little dictator Bloomberg?

Fascism is a system of government under which property is ostensibly privately owned, but the use of which is regulated by the government.

Joe
Port Richmond



I disagree with this legislation. Individuals in the military who were younger than 21 have been killed in Afghanistan. If our young people are old enough to die in Afghanistan defending our country, then they are old enough to decide whether or not to smoke a cigarette.

JT
Queens



Huh. Sounds like the inverse of the argument in favor of legalizing marijuana. Should we pity the poor Mom & Pop drug dealers?

People who make a living off tobacco and liquor (degradation and disease) should maintain a low profile, which is to say they should just shut up.

Jayne
East Harlem



In this obsessive compulsive war on smokers Health Commissioner Thomas Farley is not only grossly undermining the threat that mind-altering drugs leads to crime, violence, joblessness, family turmoil and deadly overdoses while young, but is also just plain wrong when he said (nicotine I assume) is the "world’s most dangerous drug.”
Power is the most dangerous drug in the world. It's on full display.
The rationales behind raising the age to 21 has absolutely no legitimate basis. It's government paternalism at its worst. Those having the legal power to redefine adulthood will do so if that's what it takes to impose their will on others. The unique intolerance for anyone smoking is the anti-smokers' excuse to reduce adults to the status of children.
One reason offered for raising the age is to prevent younger teens from obtaining cigarettes from their high school classmates. The ends do not justify the means. How far should government be allowed to restrict the rights and privileges of adults in order to control the behavior of children? Suddenly revoking the legal choices of one group traditionally defined as adult in order to achieve this is unacceptable. You don’t punish one to influence another.

Those aged 18 and above are not children. Cigarettes are legal. Responsibility, not "risk" is the issue at hand. These Prohibitionists assert risk trumps all. But life is full of risks. If risk is the measure then at what age are we safe from the politicians’ tyranny?
It's only in the anti-smokers' delusional minds that this will do anything to keep 18 to 20 year olds from getting their hands on cigarettes. All they've done is push more than there are already to the buttleggers who don't ask for ID -- not caring how old anyone is. The anti-smokers' are the definition of insanity -- doing the same thing over and over and expecting
different results -- as if they never heard of the war on drugs.

And Bloomberg, for all his boast of keeping crime down is, on the other hand, guilty of causing more crime (not to mention helping to fund terrorism) over a legal product when more illegal sales of cigarettes occur which invites turf wars which leads to violence. I should know. I'm also a veteran of the crack wars when I served as a NYC police officer during that period of time.

Audrey Silk
Founder, NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.)



NYC lawmakers fell short when raising the minimum age to 21. It should be age 75 and only when accompanied by both of their parents.

Glenn



If you are old enough to marry, fight and die for your country, you are old enough to buy alcohol and cigarettes.

Frances
East Village



I support the new measure. However, some of the cigarette tax revenue should be dedicated to cracking down on illegal cigarette sales to prevent legitimate businesses from being hurt by these measures. Furthermore, the "old enough to fight and die for your country" argument is pretty weak. Our country has had an all-volunteer military for 40 years now.

Giles
Greenwich Village



this new law makes no senses what the point if u can still smoke the cigarette at 18 then why make it 21 to purchase it its not going to stop this kids if we cant stop them from doing illegal drugs how are we going to stop them from smoking cigarettes come in now

Adam
Bensonhurst



Mayor Bloomberg's legacy seems to be one of control, not compromise. How can you assume control over what New York City is all about? Individualism, and personal freedoms are not exclusive to those who can afford it. Wealthy teenagers won't be affected, and bootleggers will have a field day, where is the logic in this?

Michael
Woodside



As a 66 year old ex-smoker, who started smoking at 11 and gave it up cold turkey at 31, I think this law is OUTRAGEOUS. Today far more is known about smoking than when I started - and even then - even BEFORE then - we knew perfectly well that it was bad for us! People have a right to make bad choices.



Bloomberg needs to get a hobby other than deciding what personal choices adults can make. It's ridiculous at this point. Laughable. Aren't there bigger issues in our city?

Samantha
Bay Ridge



Kudos to Bloomberg for increasing the age at which young adults can buy cigarettes.

Better that they never get started.

We all pay for smokers through our high health insurance costs.

Bloomberg has been an incredibly great mayor to this city. I am so thankful that I can go into a bar and not inhale second hand smoke - Bloomberg is very forward thinking.

Jonathon
Upper East Side



Please discuss the reason behind these laws -- the COST of the health care problems that come from smoking, etc.

And who pays????? You and me.

No thanks.

Sandy



Even though I am very much against smoking in general (I believe all tobacco products should be banned for EVERYONE) I do NOT agree with this law. Highering the age limit will do nothing, just like it did for the drinking age. I think we treat our young adults in this country horribly, we act like they are not able to make any decisions on their own, which in my opinion is part of a greater problem that we have. Young adults feel as if they are not respected, their opinions are not taken seriously or even considered. People come from all walks of life and have different maturity levels at different ages. "The old enough to fight for you country argument" is a very VALID one. If you are old enough to live on your own, vote, have a job, pay taxes, pay bills, be responsible for yourself, etc. you are old enough to make any decision. People need to live and learn, we are just pushing back the maturity age of our young adults. The less decisions we allow them to make at a young age, the longer it will take them to learn how to manage their life and make good decisions. I personally think we have an epidemic of very immature young people in this country and it is partially due to this babysitting mentality that seems to keep pushing the "age of adulthood" up and up.

Also, I've believed for many years the drinking age should be lowered as well, to 18. In my opinion this is just another excuse for police to hassle young people and make them feel inferior.

Plus, this is only a law in the city? They can go to Jersey to buy cigarettes and give them all of our tax revenue just like they are taking our residents that we have priced out of the city as well.

PS. Smoking is probably the stupidest, most self destructive thing you could do to yourself. It is just dumb and if you are not smart enough to know that in todays world then... well maybe you should just keep smoking those cigs.

Shannon
Upper West Side



He's using cigarettes too high. That time he has left. his sales of New York City people wake up.

Arturo



Make it illegal to smoke if you are under 21.

Cathy
Upper East Side



I love how people say that they should have the freedom to make a stupid decision. I agree but I also don't want to have to pay for their stupid decisions, I don't want to pay for their cancer treatments by paying higher health insurance rates or higher taxes to pay for their medicaid.

Mark



From not smoking in parks and beaches to raising the age of smoking. I began smoking at 13 and made it to 18 to legally purchasing cigarettes. I know it is harmful but instead of stopping people from smoking help get some of these homeless people off the street. DO WHAT MATTERS!!

Matthew



I don't think they shouldn't let 18 year olds buy electronic cigarettes too. Those are designed to help you quit. Those are better than real cigarettes. My family switched to those and are now on the lowest dose of those electronic cigarettes! They will find a way regardless. Or they will be forced to do other things. Marijuana is way easier to get and that can't be stopped. 18 year olds can vote && go into the military,but not smoke? They will go other places to find a cigarette. Just like people under 21 can still get alcohol regardless and nobody has stopped drinking soda either! Cancer is a major killer along with guns and diabetes. Let's focus on matters that can be helped. People still somehow get things anyway. With a law or lack thereof,you can't stop people. They will do what they want regardless! Changing the age isn't going to change anything anyway....

Jessica V
From Queens



Yeah I got something to say the mayor of New York City should mind his own business because reason why I am saying this where is our freedom where is our right we have the right to choose what we want to do we have the right to smoke we had the right to drink we had the right to eat there is nobody in this world is putting a gun to our heads and said you gotta smoke you gotta eat you got a drink if we want to smoke will smoke if we want to drink we can drink everyone eat we eat yeah we're really want to start something babies having babies stop that when you go to welfare building that's all you will see babies having babies and were paying for it so you want to talk about smoking drinking and eating yeah we know smoking give you cancer we still do it we know drinking sodas get you do you fat or eating a cheeseburger as well everyone to differ we get fat everyone to drink sodas we will drink sodas and the reason why its options too we should not suffer for are our options but we should also pay for it either we've paid enough board is that into it this is our freedom this is our right you want to raise limits I'm things you want to cut back on our sodas you want to stop the people who is getting fat because he wanted and you expect I feel sorry 4 people who are who is drinking or smoking

Michael

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