The New York City Smoking Age Is Officially 21 Now


Dear smug 19-year-olds: Mayor Bloomberg has finally got your number. He has just signed a law raising the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. The City Council passed the legislation in October by a margin of 35 to 10. Outgoing Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas A Farley proposed the age hike in April, hoping to target would-be smokers at the age at which they are most likely to develop a nicotine addiction. The new law makes New York the first major city in America with such tight restrictions.

See also: New York City Council Approves Cigarette Purchase Age Change from 18 to 21

Bloomberg also signed a law to curb cigarette tax evasion. The mayor’s office promised to levy harsher punishments and to recapture that lost income, totaling $500 million lost to New York State in 2009. The new law will also help to make competition between cigarette sellers more fair.

“Cigarette tax evasion puts law-abiding retailers at a competitive disadvantage relative to retailers and street sellers selling untaxed cigarettes,” says the Mayor’s office in a statement.

The laws do not take effect for another 180 days. Dear NYU freshmen, stock up while you still can.