NYC looking to raise the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21

Oh, good grief. It’s no wonder at least some gun-control advocates were probably less-than-thrilled with Bloomberg’s recent foray into gun-control advertising campaigns; his particular brand of loathsome nanny-statism run amok hardly lends credibility to the cause, because of course, once nanny-staters get on a top-down regulatory roll, they’re difficult to deter:

The age to legally buy cigarettes in New York City would rise to 21 from 18 under a proposal that officials unveiled on Monday, a measure that would give New York the strictest limits of any major American city.

The proposal would make the age for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products the same as for purchasing liquor, but it would not prohibit people under 21 from possessing or even smoking cigarettes.

It is the latest effort in a persistent campaign to curb smoking that began soon after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took office, with bans on smoking in restaurants and bars that expanded more recently to parks, beaches, plazas and other public places.

Let’s just get this straight. Eighteen-year-olds are old enough to be independents, to vote, to serve their country, to go to prison, and etcetera… but they’re not old enough to decide whether or not to buy tobacco? What the what? And pardon me, but might I ask where the teeth are in this proposed law, seeing as how those deemed underage can’t buy cigarettes, but they can possess and smoke them? There doesn’t seem to be much of a point to this proposed law, which leads me to believe that there really isn’t a point besides furthering government control and discouraging people from growing the heck up.

As the NYT piece points out, there was also a political element to this recent announcement, in light of the mayoral race coming up this and Bloomberg having hit his term limit:

While officials focused on the public health aspect of the age limitation, the announcement was also infused with political overtones. In the past, Mr. Bloomberg had always been on hand, standing in front of television cameras to boldly promote public health initiatives. But on Monday he was nowhere to be seen, allowing Dr. Farley to represent the administration and seemingly ceding the spotlight to Ms. Quinn, who initiated the proposal.

By proposing the legislation, Ms. Quinn, a Democrat who polls show is a leading candidate to succeed Mr. Bloomberg, appeared to be positioning herself to follow in his footsteps as a mayor who would make public health a top priority.

Mr. Bloomberg, in fact, had opposed a similar measure in 2006, arguing that raising the age to buy cigarettes would actually make smoking more enticing to teenagers. But he now believes differently, a spokeswoman said, because the city’s youth smoking rate has plateaued and recent research has suggested a correlation between a higher smoking age and lower smoking rates.

Oh, good — a potential Bloomberg-successor who’s every bit the nanny-state enthusiast as the man himself. Yeesh.

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