Waiting to inhale? On Raising the smoking age
Apr 24, 2013 | 12782 views | 0 0 comments | 510 510 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mayoral hopeful and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, announced a proposal this week to raise the legal age for buying tobacco products to 21 in an effort to reduce the number of addicted teens.

Current mayor Michael Michael Bloomberg has already tightened the reigns on smoking in the city with bans in bars, beaches, and parks. His initiative to ban tobacco use in apartment buildings has already proven to be a prime example of pushing legislative boundaries.

Are we to say that 18-year-olds are no longer educated enough to decide whether they are or are not educated enough to purchase cigarettes?

An individual of the same age, under New York law would be allowed to wield a weapon. Granted it would take a while to obtain the weapon because elected officials just passed the toughest gun legislation in the country.

It would seem that New York politicians are treating their constituents as children that don’t know what is good for them on all fronts. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that they are pushing to limit one’s ability to smoke.

At a time when the country is facing letters strewn with ricin being sent to our elected officials, bombs on our most populated city streets, shouldn’t statutes following a tragedy come first? Why is it necessary to focus on increasing the smoking age, something that will limit much-needed revenue in our city?

And what about small businesses, who will be fined if they inadvertently sell cigarettes to people under the age of 21, incurring all of the penalties while the purchaser walks away without so much as a slap on the wrist.

The surprising proposal has made it clear that even when Mayor Bloomberg leaves this fall, we will still have elected officials who will push for a “nanny state” regardless of the governmental climate or preceding lessons learned.

As electeds have repeatedly attempted to encroach on our civil liberties, it is time a clear line is drawn in local and state government to make their allowable powers known. Whether they are set prevent an abusive influences on our health, such obtrusive laws will have a more devastating effect on businesses already struggling to find revenue.

This should be the time we regulate violence in our communities, and promote a thriving business environment.

If smoking is such a problem, Quinn and the Department of Health should consider making it illegal for everyone, rather than targeting a specific age group and limiting the market.

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