It's official: In 180 days it will be illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to buy tobacco products in New York City.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in an unsurprising move, signed a measure on Tuesday that raises the legal age to purchase tobacco in the city's five boroughs from 18 to 21. The legislation, which easily passed a City Council vote last month by a margin of 35 to 10, was part of a broader package of antismoking legislation that included raising the minimum price of a pack of little cigars and cigarettes to $10.50.
In most of America, 18 is the legal age to buy tobacco, with a few exceptions. Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey, Utah and Washington D.C. (as well as Onondaga, Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York) have all raised the legal age to buy tobacco to 19, while a few cities in Massachusetts have raised the purchase age to 21.
Earlier this year, Chicago lawmakers also began talks to raise the purchase age for tobacco products to 21.