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State Considers Smoking Age Increase Up to 21, Mirrors NYC Plan

NEW YORK (WBEN/AP) - Following New York City's lead, state lawmakers have taken up the cause to raise the minimum age for cigarette purchases from 18 to 21 statewide.

 State Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal announced the legislation at a news conference Sunday in New York City. The bill was introduced on Friday.

If passed, New York would become the first state to raise the minimum age to buy cigarettes to 21. Four states and some communities have increased the age to 19, and at least two towns have agreed to raise it to 21. 

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Public health and anti-smoking advocates say a higher minimum age for buying tobacco discourages, or at least delays, young people from starting smoking and thereby limits their health risks.

From Facebook.com/WBEN930
Here's a sample of some comments against the idea:

- "Ridiculous! lets see you can sign a contract at 18 , you can be charged as an adult, you can have your life on the line in the military but you can't buy cigarettes"

-"It doesnt matter the age for alcohol or tobacco. I got into bars at 15 and bought smokes at 15. "

-" Smoked for over 20 years, & you know who's fault that was? MINE. I just quit 5 months ago...  I didn't quit with any government run agency or governmental medication (patch). Nor do I want to sue anyone for getting me addicted when I was 15. "
"Curtailing smoking among these age groups is critical to winning the fight against tobacco and reducing the deaths, disease and health care costs it causes," said Susan M. Liss, executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

 Sen. Savino adds  "anything we can do to stop young people from starting is a step in the right direction."

A hearing on the New York City's proposal to raise the minimum age to 21 is scheduled for May 2

As New York City considered the change, a retailers' representative suggested the measure would simply drive younger smokers to neighboring communities or corner-store cigarette sellers instead of city stores, while a smokers' rights advocate called it "government paternalism at its worst."

Under federal law, no one under 18 can buy tobacco anywhere in the country. Four states and some localities have raised the age to 19, and at least two communities have agreed to raise it to 21. New York City would be the nation's largest community to raise it to 21, and if it is s approved statewide New York would be the only state in the nation to raise the legal age that high.

 A similar proposal has been floated in the Texas Legislature, but it's on hold after a budget board estimated it would cost the state more than $42 million in cigarette tax revenue over two years.

Smoking has become less prevalent overall in New York City over the last decade but has plateaued at 8.5 percent among the city's public high school students since 2007. An estimated 20,000 of them smoke today.  

04/29/2013 8:15AM
State Considers Smoking Age Increase Up to 21, Mirrors NYC Plan
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04/29/2013 9:10AM
That's what Democrat brainiacs in Albany are all wrapped up in. If it's not this idiotic non sense it's deciding what the state vegetable needs to be or redesigning license plates (for our safety) It's looking as though NYS has way too many legislators trying to scrounge up something to make themselves appear useful and end up scrapping the bottom of the barrel and coming up with this nit-wit useless non sense, but that is what makes a NYS Democrat politician. These waste of space Democrats really need to be concentrating their efforts to banning bibles, talk radio, guns, cigarettes, cigars, French fries and wind shield wiper speeds (for our safety) You should hang your head in shame if you've ever voted for a Democrat in this embarrassing laughing stock of a state.
04/29/2013 11:34AM
Someone here's got to be pro-tobacco.
After all, you people are by and large pro-gun violence. Let's hear your advocacy for giving cigarettes to children.
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