NY Mayor Bloomberg Seeks to Raise Smoking Age to 21

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New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a long-time activist for health causes, is seeking to raise his city’s cigarette-buying age from 18 to 21.

City officials, including Dr. Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner, and Christine Quinn, the City Council speaker, announced a proposal on Monday that would give New York City the highest smoking age in the country.

Bloomberg has already been able to pass legislation banning smoking in restaurants and bars, and has lately sought bans in other public spaces such as parks, beaches and plazas. Bloomberg is also adding this latest piece of legislation to another proposal he announced in March, which would require retailers to keep cigarettes and other tobacco products hidden in order to curtail marketing influences on kids and keep people from buying packs on impulses.

Bloomberg has been highly criticized for his extensive legislative health agenda, which has included attempts to put graphic advertisements wherever tobacco is sold and an attempt to ban establishments from selling super-size super-sugary drinks.

Though New York would be the first to raise the smoking age to 21, four states — Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey and Utah — have been able to raise it to 19.

Sources: New York Times, Gawker