Yet again NYC is a pioneer in the world of smoking limitations! The New York City Council vote was held on October 30, 2013. The amendment was passed—35 to 10– to raise the sales age of cigarettes and tobacco products from 18 years old to 21 years old. It will also establish that 21 years old is the minimum age for the purchase of electronic cigarettes. Now all that’s left is for Mayor Bloomberg to sign the bill (which he promises he will do). According to the Daily News, the legislation will take effect 180 days after it is signed. This will make NYC the first major city or state in the United States to have a minimum age of 21 for these purchases.
All CUNY campuses have been smoke-free since September 4, 2012. I think this is certainly a step in the right direction in protecting the health of students and other members of the college communities. This greatly reduces secondhand smoke which according to the CDC can cause heart disease and lung cancer. Below is a short video about the CUNY policy.
According to Bloomberg.com, “more than 80% of the city’s adult smokers start before age 21” and “raising the purchase age to 21 will reduce smoking among those 18 to 20 years old by as much as 55 percent.” I understand that this is merely a prediction, but 55% is still a pretty high number. Even if the new legislation were to reduce smoking by 25%, it would definitely be worth it.
Why am I so passionate about this topic? Because the effects of smoking on the respiratory system are so detrimental. The CDC reports that cigarette smoking is “associated with a tenfold increase in the risk of dying from chronic obstructive lung disease.” Growths can occur on the vocal folds affecting the tone of speech and can become cancerous, and tissues in the larynx (voice box) thicken causing an unhealthy raspy voice. Over time your pharynx (throat) becomes so inflamed that it feels like you are breathing through a straw. There is also a decrease in the production of mucus that naturally protects your body from pathogens, so smokers are more vulnerable to colds, the flu, and bronchitis.
Mayor Bloomberg gave this statement after the City Council vote: “By increasing the smoking age to 21 we will help prevent another generation from the ill health and shorter life expectancy that comes with smoking. It’s critical that we stop young people from smoking before they ever start.” Makes perfect sense to me!
To be quite honest, I never understood the point of smoking. Apparently it’s a calming agent for some people, but aren’t there other healthier (and cheaper) avenues to choose from? Let me know what you think. Whether you agree with me or not I would love to hear what you have to say!