On Tuesday, November 19, 2013, Mayor Bloomberg signed landmark legislation making New York City the first major city in the country to raise to 21 the minimum sale age for cigarettes, cigars, and electronic cigarettes. The Mayor also signed a law that will stop tobacco industry discounting schemes, set a $10.50 price floor for a pack of cigarettes or little cigars, and crack down on cigarette tax evasion.
These bold new laws, which will go into effect in May 2014, should help reduce youth smoking rates in our City and serve as models for the rest of the United States and the world. In fact, Washington, DC, New Jersey, and Hawaii, are now all considering raising the sale age to 2
Throughout his tenure, Mayor Bloomberg has been committed to public health and has made New York City a leader in tobacco-control. These latest laws add to his legacy of reducing New York City’s smoking rate and increasing the life expectancy of New Yorkers. I’m looking forward to continuing to work on these issues with the new mayoral administration.
The signing ceremony served as reminder of how just how much policies affect individuals. I was moved when Phil Konigsberg, a tireless smoke-free advocate from Queens, thanked Mayor Bloomberg personally for enacting smoke-free policies that have made him able to breathe a lot easier.
I thank Phil and the many other tireless advocates for tobacco control who are invested in it for very personal reasons.
As Councilman James Gennaro, who supported both bills, believes that, given everything the Mayor has done to reduce smoking in our City and save lives, when the Mayor says “l’chaim” which means “to life”, he really means it.