New York City smoking laws are already among the most stringent in the nation. You can't smoke in restaurants, bars, even parks, in the Big Apple. The status quo doesn't seem to be enough for the city's health commissioner, though, or for mayoral hopeful and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
The legal age at which New Yorkers can currently purchase cigarettes is 18, and for Nassau County residents, the age is 19. The new proposed New York City smoking law would create the highest smoking age in the country and would equate cigarettes with alcohol, which also carries a legal purchase age of 21.
The new smoking legislation would be a crowning achievement for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was responsible for spearheading many of the current anti-smoking laws in effect. According to the New York Times, Bloomberg attempted in March to push through legislation that would have forced shop-owners to hide tobacco products where customers would be unable to see them.
Bloomberg is probably pretty keen on getting another piece of high-profile social policy legislation passed before his final term as mayor runs out. Recently, his efforts have seen some embarrassing setbacks, like when the New York State Supreme Court threw out his plan to ban the sale of large-size sugary drinks. The judge in the case called Bloomberg's proposal "arbitrary and capricious."
As always, Reddit users are already at work, providing colorful commentary on the unfolding debacle:
"I'm a non-smoker ... But this nanny-state bullsh*t in New York has to end."
"It's not like anyone under 21 can afford to buy cigarettes in NYC anyway."
It's unclear so far whether the law would target possession of cigarettes, or only their sale, but historically, anti-smoking legislation focuses on the latter.