In what may be his final victory against smoking in New York City, yesterday Mayor Bloomberg applauded after the City Council approved a ban on the sale of tobacco products to people under the age of 21.
Thomas Farley, the city’s health and mental hygiene commissioner, said the law, the Sensible Tobacco Enforcement Act, represents a “historic advance in our fight against New York City’s leading killer.” Bloomberg said the new age requirement will prevent more teenagers from developing a smoking habit, saving lives. Research shows that more than 80% of smokers in New York began lighting up before the age 21. When it is enacted, the new law would add one more component to Bloomberg’s legacy of anti-smoking and public health initiatives. Since he became mayor, the city has banned smoking in bars and restaurants and in public places, such as city beaches and parks. Aides say Bloomberg was convinced to raise the smoking age by data from London showing a major decline in youth smoking after that city raised its minimum age to 21.
RELATED: In addition to the above-cited measures, during his 12-year tenure Bloomberg also ushered in a series of tax hikes on cigarettes, which now retail at $13-$15 a pack at many locations. Those are the highest prices in the nation.