As we reported yesterday morning, City Health Commissioner Tom Farley and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined forces Monday to announce a proposal to raise the age to buy cigarettes to 21. And then we went into the electoral blowback this could have for Quinn in the upcoming mayoral campaign, given her notion to shift away from Bloomberg. Yada, yada, yada.
But, as mentioned, the Mayor was nowhere to be found when news of the proposal hit headlines on Monday. Until yesterday.
At a press conference for an ice rink of epic proportions in the Bronx, the Mayor finally commented on the new age restriction — one that basically has his name written all over it (FYI: Bloomberg was not down for this proposal just a few months ago). But two things changed his mind: the example set forth by the United Kingdom and a stagnant teenage smoking rate.
“I was always skeptical,” the Hizzoner told reporters. “But it was actually done in England recently and it really did work… I think it’s definitely worth trying.”
It was Samantha Levine, the Mayor’s spokeswoman, who went on further to say that it would be help take cigarettes out of the hands of teenagers. “You may have seen we recently proposed some other measures we had not supported before — requiring stores to remove cigarettes from public view and setting a minimum price — to try to address this,” she said. “So we revisited this proposal and found new data from the UK that shows it can have an impact.”
For many, Great Britain rhymes with ‘nanny state.’ So if Bloomberg is going to cite the European country as his justification, he should prepare himself for another round of those types of criticisms as this proposal progresses through City Council. At least he had the soda ban for training.