Tuesday, November 19, 2013

NYC Raises Tobacco Purchase Age to 21

Much to our chagrin, Mayor Bloomberg has finally signed the bill that would raise the tobacco purchase age to 21 in New York City.  He was originally against such a move in 2006, but the City Council finally convinced him, which was really not that difficult to do considering his history as a jerk and a nanny-stater.

The bill, which bans the sale of tobacco products and e-cigarettes (but not paraphernalia) to anyone under 21, takes effect in 180 days from today, which will be on May 19, 2014.  NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will be in power then, and it remains to be seen how he will handle such a law.  We hope he will listen to reason and repeal it before it goes into effect.

As we have previously noted unequivocally while the issue was first being discussed, Twenty-One Debunked does NOT support raising the age limit for cigarettes to 21.  The one bright spot to the new law is that, unlike with alcohol, it does not apply to possession or use of tobacco (currently no age limit), or to the sale of paraphernalia (which will remain 18).  However, that does not make it any less ageist, and it will only expand the city's already extensive black market for untaxed/out-of-state/stolen/counterfeit cigarettes.  What allegedly works in the small town of Needham, MA (which is debatable) would be unlikely to work in a place like NYC.  While another bill was passed today to increase penalties for black-market sellers, it does not get to the root of the problem:  extremely high cigarette taxes compared to surrounding areas.  And the 21 age limit only pours gasoline on the fire.  I would bet that cigarette retailers in Westchester County (where the age is 18) and Long Island and New Jersey (where it's 19) would probably be the greatest beneficiaries of the new law, in addition to the mobsters and terrorists that profit from the black market in the city.

As a result, Twenty-One Debunked is calling for an all-ages boycott of all tobacco products in the five boroughs of NYC, beginning on May 19, 2014 when the law takes effect (and lasting until repeal).  If you live in the city and smoke, be sure to (legally) buy your smokes elsewhere--or better yet, quit.  Tourists should also avoid buying tobacco while visiting.  The more die-hard boycotters might even want to include alcohol on the do-not-buy list, for obvious reasons.  Watch the tax revenue shrink precipitously.

For this and many other reasons, we hereby say "good riddance" to lame-duck Nanny Bloomberg when he finally steps down on New Year's Eve.  Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

1 comment:

  1. New York City's legislature is in a sorry state of affairs so that legislature needs to be repaired. The United States' cultural obsession with using 21 as a minimum age is a big problem. That problematic cultural characteristic has manifested itself into an absurd smoking age in the United States' most populous city. The smoking age should be lowered to 18 in all of New York state and in all of Massachusetts.

    According to the NYRA, two legislators in Utah are going to introduce a bill which would raise the smoking age to 21. This is also shows that discrimination increases as years go by.

    Bill de Blasio understands civil rights better than Michael Bloomberg so people in New York City should encourage Bill de Blasio to repeal that law before it takes effect.

    I agree with Ajax the Great on "good riddance". Hopefully, Bill de Blasio will replace Michael Bloomberg on the New York's Eve countdown ceremony.