Yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into law a bill raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 in New York City. Ordinance No. 250, which was passed by the New York City Council last month, made New York the largest city in the country to pass laws raising the minimum age above 18.
The law provides heavy fines for retailers in violation of the minimum age requirement, sets a minimum on the price of cigarettes ($10.50) and also provides restrictions on discounting.
It should be noted, possessing tobacco will not be illegal for those 18-20, just the purchasing in New York City. According to the city, there are allegedly 27,000 New Yorkers between the ages of 18 and 20 who smoke.
The law goes into effect on May 1, 2014. Bloomberg, a noted anti-tobacco advocate and former smoker, will leave office after serving three terms on January 1, 2014.