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Mayor Bloomberg's Proposed Bill Would Raise Age To Buy Tobacco To 21, Chicago May Follow

Apr 23, 2013 05:21 PM EDT
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Ever since he took office, New York City's Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has fought against the prevalence of smoking throughout the city of 8.2 million. When it comes to the politician's latest endeavour, that of raising the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21, he's found a new friend - Chicago.

Just hours after New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn proposed the measure on Monday, Chicago's Health Committee Chairman George Cardenas took to the press himself.

"That's something worth exploring because more kids are smoking now," Cardenas said, though he didn't immediately offer supporting data to for the statement, according to the Sun Times.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel isn't quite as gung-ho about the measure as Bloomberg, however, declining to either commit or refute the idea right away.

Ultimately, New York's proposed bill wouldn't outlaw people under 21 from possessing or smoking cigarettes. Still, Bloomberg and the city's health commissioner, Christine C. Quinn, hope that by making it more difficult for those between the ages of 18 to 20 to get their hands on tobacco products will work to deter their consumption within the age group.

"With this legislation, we'll be targeting the age group at which the overwhelming majority of smokers start," Quinn said when announcing the legislation at a City Hall news conference, according to The New York Times.

Critics, however, are rolling their eyes, arguing that if a person is old enough to fight and die for the country, he or she is old enough to decide whether or not to buy cigarettes.

The announcement was interesting for another reason altogether, however.

Completely absent from the announcement was Bloomberg himself whose third term is almost over. As a mayoral candidate, the move is being seen as a message from Quinn herself that, if elected, is positioned to lead in a manner similar to Bloomberg's.

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