Alongside city health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Council speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn has proposed a measure that would raise the legal age to buy cigarettes in New York City from 18 years old to 21. Cue smoking teens everywhere angrily asking, "What is this, a police state?"
But, seriously, what is this? A police state?
Quinn, whose candidacy for mayoral office has been endorsed by current mayor Michael Bloomberg, is running on a platform of public health. Her newest proposal would not make it illegal for those between the ages of 18 and 21 to possess or smoke cigarettes, but it would make it illegal for cigarette vendors to sell to them.
“With this legislation, we’ll be targeting the age group at which the overwhelming majority of smokers start,” Quinn announced at a City Hall news conference, then citing research from a 2010 UK study that showed that smoking among 16- to 17-year-olds dropped by 30 percent when the legal smoking age was raised from 16 to 18.
Regardless of what's best for public health, Quinn's proposed smoking limitation is just another Big Brother-y act in a long line of Big Brother-y acts from her and Bloomberg (never forget the soda ban; never forget) and limiting that particular age group's legal rights even more than they've already been limited seems extra eye-roll-y. If you are charged with a crime at 18, you are charged as an adult. If there's a war, you can get sent to fight and die. On the flip side, you're not allowed to drink alcohol, rent cars or do any of the stuff that makes being a grown-up fun (except for voting). In other words, smoking is one of the few rights that 18-year-olds have at this point so let's let the kidults have their damn cigarettes.
City Plan Sets 21 as Legal Age to Buy Tobacco [New York Times]
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