Students React to NYC 21+ Smoke Law

Taylor Longenberger, News Editor

The New York City Coun­cil raised the age for purchasing cigarettes from 18 to 21 last Wed. Oct. 30.

The council based their rea­sons for raising the age on the de­velopment that occurs in the three years from 18 to 21. The law was passed in an effort to decrease the dependence of young adults on tobacco with an attempt of pre­venting them from starting in the first place.

Statistics used by lawmakers pushing the law showed that since 2007, the rates of young adult and youth smoking have leveled off at 8.5 percent.

A bill was also approved set­ting the minimum price per pack of tobacco cigarettes at $10.50.

The state of New York has the highest prices for cigarettes in the United States. Although the price of a pack of cigarettes in the city ranges anywhere from $12.50 to $14.50, this new bill will make it mandatory for store owners to keep their prices over $10.50 per pack.

Storeowners selling tobacco cigarettes under $10.50 or to mi­nors under 21 are subject to $1000 fines enforced by the authorities.

Pace Pleasantville is not far from the city and students com­mute from the city to Westchester every day. There are also many more students that attend classes at both the Westchester and New York City campuses.

Not all Pace students are over the age of 21 and if they are, many students cannot afford ciga­rettes that are so expensive. With the new law limiting the purchase of cigarettes, students have many points of view and responses. Some question if the law should have been passed despite whether it directly effects them or not.

“If you are able to fight for your country at 18 you should be able to buy a cigarette,” junior nursing major Andrew Samanich said. “But, at the same time peo­ple aren’t fully developed at 18 and it’s easier to form a habit of smoking at a younger age.”

Many New Yorkers agree with Samanich. The idea that lawmakers had for the bills was that it is important to incorporate the health and developmental as­pects of the young adults that do smoke.

“I don’t smoke anymore, but I understand it. I think it’s a good way to get young people to not start smoking,” senior informa­tion technology major Matt Oel­sner said. “If they don’t start by 21 then they most likely won’t.

Pace students seemed to agree with the law in one way or an­other, saying that the addictive properties of smoking are hard to break and that if people never try them then they are less likely to become addicted.

“I think that it’s actually a good law,” junior education ma­jor Victoria Mornhineway said. “Kids are starting to smoke younger and younger these days so if they enforced this law I think it would be really helpful. But only if it is enforced.”

One of the other propositions that is being pushed for in New York City is for the sale of ciga­rettes and other tobacco products to be modeled after countries such as Ireland and England. In these countries, the products are hidden in cabinets and draws or concealed behind curtains until the customer asks for them. This is only another idea in trying to prevent the market of tobacco products to younger people.

Lawmakers and several resi­dents of all five boroughs are hopeful that the attention brought to the limitation of cigarettes that is forced by the new laws will aid in the fight against smoking. They are aimed at saving younger people from the addictions of to­bacco and the life threatening illnesses that can be c a u s e d by tobacco use.