Tobacco & Cigarette Age Minimum: New York City Raises Age Restriction to Buy Cigarettes to 21
On May 18, New York City implemented a law signed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg raising the minimum age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21.
Back in November, the former mayor signed the initiative into law right before he ended his third term in office in order to encourage good health practices among city residents. Now that the six-month waiting period is over, the law has come into effect, requiring smokers to present a valid ID to buy cigarettes and tobacco products, AFP reported.
In 2011, Mayor Bloomberg signed a law banning cigarette smokers from smoking in public spaces, including in restaurants, bars, parks and city beaches. In December 2013, he then expanded the smoking restrictions to include e-cigarettes, as well.
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a proposal to regulate the sale and use of electronic cigarettes, along with other products like cigars, pipe tobacco and hookahs.
The initiative aims to place strict rules on the e-cigarette industry, which has soared in popularity and is reportedly worth nearly $2 billion, according to the Washington Post. If implemented, the FDA plan would ban the sale of e-cigs to minors, prohibit manufacturers from distributing free samples, require the use of health warning labels on its products and disclose the ingredients. In addition, makers of e-cigarettes would be banned from making health-related claims without scientific evidence. The proposed rules won't, however, prohibit the use of flavors like chocolate or bubble gum, which critics argue might attract children.
"This is an important moment for consumer protection," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said, adding that tobacco is "the leading cause of death and disease in this country," USA Today reported.
Hamburg said that another reason why regulation is important is because they don't know how many types are on the market.
"It's really the wild, wild west out there," Hamburg said. "Because e-cigarettes are increasingly in the marketplace. They're coming in different sizes, shapes and flavors in terms of the nicotine in them, and there's very worrisome data that show that young people in particular are starting to take up e-cigarettes, especially the flavored ones. And that might be a gateway to other harmful tobacco products."