NYC is considering increasing their smoking age to 21, and Chicago is right behind them. Christine Quinn, the council speaker for the most populous city in the U.S., announced her proposal to increase the city’s minimum age to 21.
The legal smoking age has previously been raised in few different states and vicinities. New Jersey, Utah, and Alabama are among the stated that have already increased their smoking age to 19. Texas recently attempted to change their legal smoking age to 21 statewide though legislation stalled.
“With this legislation, we’ll be targeting the age group at which the overwhelming majority of smokers start,” Quinn said.
Alderman George Cardenas (12th), the City Council’s health committee chairman, said Monday that he would like to see Chicago follow in New York’s lead in an effort to reduce the city’s teen smoking rate, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Although the proposed rule might seem to target the older teenagers who will no longer be able to buy cigarettes, much of its effect would trickle down to high-school students 14 to 17 years old, said John Billimek, a health policy researcher at the UC Irvine School of Medicine.
“Most kids that age are rarely come across 21-year-olds. But they see 18-year-olds all the time,” he said. “Now it’s going to be a lot harder to find someone on your campus who can give you cigarettes.”