NYC attempts to raise smoking age to 21, Chicago may follow

New York City put forward a proposal Monday that, if adopted, would make it the first major U.S. city to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes from 18 to 21 — the same age for buying alcohol, according to a story in USA Today.

The proposal is part of a decade-long, anti-tobacco campaign by outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has imposed some of the highest cigarettes taxes in the country, banned smoking in parks and run graphic ads on the hazards of smoking. Last month, his administration proposed a requirement that stores keep cigarettes out of sight unless an adult customer asks for them.

Hours after New York City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn proposed raising her city’s legal smoking age from 18 to 21, Health Committee Chairman George Cardenas (12th) talked about Chicago following the Big Apple’s lead, according to a story in the Chicago Sun-Times.

“That’s something worth exploring because more kids are smoking now,” said Cardenas, who didn’t immediately provide data to back that up.