The New York City Council voted to approve the Tobacco 21 Bill on Wednesday. This means that the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, will now be 21, the same as the age to purchase alcohol. This is just one more step taken by city government, and particlarly by Michael Bloomberg, to create legislation that would make residents of New York make healthier choices. One such example was a vote that Bloomberg brought to the forefront to ban sugar-laden drinks that were larger than sixteen ounces. However, that law was repealed shortly afterward by the Supreme Court.
What Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems to be doing is taking away the freedom to choose and many New Yorkers are not happy about it. Some are upset because 18 is the age when a person legally becomes an adult and the opinion of some is that it infringes upon their rights. "You're an adult; you should be able to buy a pack of cigarettes," a New York resident told a CNN affiliate. What Mayor Bloomberg appears to be doing is taking away those choices for New Yorkers, including going so far as to regulate the amount of sugar they are allowed to order in a restaurant, although that particular law was overturned.
Of course, Bloomberg and the City Council see it differently. By implementing the Tobacco 21 bill, they claim that they are preventing many from starting smoking in the first place. New York is not the only city to see it this way either, although they are now the largest city with a tobacco age change. In 2005, a town in Massuchusetts enacted the same law and some of the surrounding towns around New York have raised the tobacco age from 18 to 19.
"By increasing the smoking age to 21, we will help prevent another generation from the ill health and shorter life expectancy that comes with smoking," Bloomberg said on Wednesday. He now has 30 days to sign the bill into law, and he is almost certain to do so. While his intentions may be good, it is making some New Yorkers wonder what will be next.
Gabriel Legend is a political and current events contributor for Gather News. He also writes fiction. If you enjoy Gabriel's articles, please share them using the links below. Follow Gabriel on Twitter (@GabeLegend).