New York City Plans to Increase Smoking Age to 21

Published on February 5th, 2014 00:00
NY smokers

Amongst its 8.3 million citizens, 14 % of New York City smokes - the general price of a package is approximately $11.90, which rakes in around $1.8 billion in tax receipts a year.

Last Friday, the New York City Council voted practically unanimously on the “Tobacco 21” bill, which increases the cigarette-purchasing age from 18 to 21; that also covers electronic cigarettes. The council also accepted a second bill known as “Sensible Tobacco Enforcement” which will prohibit discounts on smoking products and passes enforcement measures on suppliers who experiment with illegal cigarette sales. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the representative of anti-smoking laws, has about 30 days to sign the bills. Once he accomplishes this, the laws will become effective within 180 days after they are ratified, as based on the council’s message.

Bloomberg explained in a report that, “We understand that smoking dependence can start in the near future after a young person lights up his first cigarette, so it is essential that we prevent young people from trying tobacco products before they ever start. This will actually save many, many lives,” stated City Councilman James Gennaro, the bill’s sponsor.

While bureaucrats and others recognized the bills, a number of New Yorker youngsters, tobacco representatives, and business were against it.  “You are an adult; you should be capable to purchase a package of cigarettes,” one New Yorker said in an interview. “I want to say that you can think for yourself. I think it is absurd,” one more New Yorker stated, “Let us be, let us live. New York City at the moment has the greatest cigarette tax rate and the biggest cigarette smuggling level in the country,” explained Bryan D. Hatchell, a representative for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the maker of best selling Camel and Winston cigarettes. “Those come together and the given law will just make the issue even worse. With funding supported by cigarette manufacturers, a coalition of shop keepers listed their dislike for the “Sensible Tobacco Enforcement” bill, underling possible cutbacks in profits. “I am going to suffer a huge loss in business,” deli proprietor Wadah Arbuya explained to CBS New York. “Perhaps I am going to face hard times soon, as half of all my sales of cigarettes are made by people between 18 and 21 years old.

James Calvin, leader of the New York Association of Convenience Stores, stated that due to the bills, thousands of people working in retail stores would lose their jobs due to the fact the laws would simply reduce tobacco sales. Calvin forecasted that the law would not decrease tobacco use as it does not outlaw under-age smokers to hold smoking products.

By Kevin Lawson, Staff Writer.
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