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Cigarette smoking not allowed until 21 in New York City

First it was soda; now it the cigarette. Leave it to the City of New York to restrict personal freedoms. CNN reports that theNew York City Council voted on Wednesday night to approve an anti-tobacco law that will increase the tobacco-purchasing age from 18 to 21. Not only are cigarettes outlawed for young adults, but the bill will also eliminate discounts on products and increase enforcement on vendors who attempt to evade taxes.

Will the mayor sign the bill? Given his propensity for trying to control the citizens of New York it is likely Mayor Michael Bloomberg will sign the bill soon. He has 30 days. He supported the bill earlier this year, noting that the bill would help “prevent another generation from the ill health and shorter life expectancy which comes with smoking.”

If the bill is signed it will take effect 180 days after it is enacted, according to the city counsels’ press release.

New York is not the first city to increase the smoking age and limit the purchase of a cigarette

Although New York is not the first city to increase the smoking age- it was also done in Needham, Massachusetts, in 2005, it will be the largest. Other states and counties have also increased the age to 19, rather than 21.

What do the citizens of New York think? While we can all agree making smoking a cigarette illegal will probably prevent some people from smoking, not all New Yorkers applaud the move. Many argue that as an adult you should have the choice to make your own decisions, even bad ones. Other New Yorkers argued it’s time for the city to butt out of their business and just let them live their lives.

And they have a point. If you can have an abortion, get a tattoo, join the military and die for your country, be emancipated from your family, move out on your own and work a full-time job aren’t you responsible enough to decide if you want to smoke a cigarette or not? Not to mention that this law is going into effect when states are legalizing marijuana smoking. I’m not sure I understand the logic.

But not according to Bloomberg, who seems to be willing to compromise your freedom all for the greater good of forcing you to make better and healthier decisions. For instance, in September 2012, the Board of Health voted to ban the sale of sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces in restaurants and other venues. Thankfully, the ban was later repealed by a New York State Supreme Court judge.

I’m not a smoker. I hate cigarette smoke, and I would hate for my kids to smoke. But guess what? I’m more afraid of a government that thinks they can infringe on my rights as a U.S. citizen than I am of a little smoke in my eyes, even if it’s smoke from the cigarette of an 18 year old.

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