Mayor of the New York, Michael Bloomberg, recently signed into law a bill which increases to 21 the minimum age to buy tobacco products in the city. The administration believes that this will be an example to follow not only by U.S. states but by other countries.
The law is considered to be one of the strictest in the USA and it aimed to fight smoking among population. At the beginning Mr. Bloomberg opposed the idea to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products as he considered it would not be effective. It was 2006 when he said that the best measure to reduce smoking rates is to increase cigarette taxes.
The new law comes into action in May 2014, after Mr. Bloomberg leaves the post of mayor. He agreed to adopt the law after he saw the positive results of the UK whose experience showed that raising the smoking age could have an impact. Data shows that with raising the minimum sale age to 18 from 16 in 2007, Britain managed to reduce smoking rates among youth by 30%.
Bloomberg also signed another bill into law which establishes penalties for avoidance of cigarette taxes, prohibits discounts on cigarettes, requires cheap cigars to be sold in packs of no fewer than $4, establishes a minimum price on cigarettes and little cigars at $10.50.
Mr. Bloomberg himself quit smoking many years ago, he criticized people who oppose the law saying he wants the New Yorkers to be healthy.
Thomas Farley, who is the commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene of the city, said that New York has made great effort in reducing smoking in adults and teenagers, however, still more need to be done.
A study demonstrated that around 20,000 public high-school students do smoke in the city, and 80% of people started smoking before the age of 21. Smoking rates among teenagers in the 5 boroughs dropped to 8.5% in 2007, but remains unchangeable.