New York raises minimum age to buy cigarettes to 21
NEW YORK-AFP - New York raised the minimum age to buy cigarettes to 21 on Sunday, in its latest initiative to encourage healthier behavior among residents.
The law, signed November 19 shortly before former mayor Michael Bloomberg finished let office, had a six-month waiting period before it came into effect -- but its impact can already be clearly felt.
"Under 21, no tobacco," warned a small sign at the entrance of a small shop that sells smokes, newspapers, candy, coffee and cakes, in the Nolita neighborhood (North of Little Italy).
No tobacco, either, for anyone who can't present a valid ID proving their age. Shopkeeper scan IDs to test their authenticity before handing over the box of cigarettes.
The measure -- unprecedented among America's big cities -- raises the legal age to buy cigarettes from 18. It also applies to other forms of tobacco and to e-cigarettes.
It's the latest of New York's efforts to reduce smoking in the city, which bans cigarettes and, as of
April 29, e-cigarettes in restaurants and bars, in parks or squares, and at the city's public beaches. Some private residential buildings have also banned smoking.