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New York City votes to raise minimum smoking age to 21

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E-cigarettes are also set to be prohibited

Smoking stock
Smoking stock

New York City could be about to become the latest place to ban cigarette sales to 18-20-year-olds. The news comes from a city council vote that passed a bill barring the sale of cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21. The votes came through 35 for the change versus 10 against, and the bill now awaits Mayor Bloomberg's signature — likely a formality — in order to be made city-wide law. Bloomberg has 30 days to sign the bill, and the changes would take effect six months later.

NYC isn't the first place to prohibit the sale of cigarettes to people over 18. Some New York counties including Nassau and Suffolk have raised the bar to 19, while several towns in Massachusetts have banned smoking residents under 21. It's worth noting that the ban, should it be ratified by Bloomberg, will also apply to electronic cigarettes. It's hoped that the changes will help prevent would-be smokers from ever taking up the habit — officials say 80 percent of NYC smokers started before the age of 21.