After City, NY State Lawmakers Propose Raising Cigarette Purchase Age

Monday, Apr 29, 2013  |  Updated 8:43 AM EDT
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NYC Speaker Wants to Raise Age for Tobacco Purchase

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is proposing a minimum age of 21 to buy cigarettes. Public health advocates say a higher minimum age discourages, or at least delays, young people from starting smoking and thereby limits their health risks. Melissa Russo reports.
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Following New York City's lead, state lawmakers have taken up the cause to raise the minimum age for cigarette purchases from 18 to 21 statewide.

State Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal announced the legislation at a news conference Sunday in New York City. The bill was introduced on Friday.

If passed, New York would become the first state to raise the minimum age to buy cigarettes to 21. Four states and some communities have increased the age to 19, and at least two towns have agreed to raise it to 21.

Savino says "anything we can do to stop young people from starting is a step in the right direction."

A hearing on the city's proposal to raise the minimum age to 21 is scheduled for May 2.

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