City Council Raises Age to Buy Cigarettes to 21

By DNAinfo Staff on October 30, 2013 2:13pm  | Updated on October 30, 2013 7:11pm

 New Yorkers now have to be 21 to purchase cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, thanks to new City Council legislation.
New Yorkers now have to be 21 to purchase cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, thanks to new City Council legislation.
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By Oulimata Ba

Special to DNAinfo New York

NEW YORK CITY — The City Council voted Wednesday to raise the minimum age for buying cigarettes and electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21 years old in an effort to tamp down on teenage smoking. 

The bill —  which will make New York the largest city to ever increase its smoking age —  was approved in a 35 to 10 vote.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said that the Council took up the measure because the vast majority of smokers take up the habit before the age of 21.

“Why are we doing this? Well let’s look at the data. Eighty percent of adult smokers in New York City started before age 21,” Quinn told CBS News.

According to a Centers for Disease Control study cited in the bill, the number of high school students who have tried electronic cigarettes increased more than 5 percent last year.

Another clause of the bill would have required storeowners to keep cigarettes out of sight from customers, but it was later removed.

The legislation still needs Mayor Michael Bloomberg's OK.

This year is the 10th anniversary of the Smoke-Free Air Act that prohibits smoking in public places like bars and restaurants. 

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