In its latest initiative to encourage the youth to lead a healthy lifestyle, New York has raised the minimum age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21. This encompasses all possible tobacco products including e-cigarettes. The law was signed on November 19 last year and has finally come into effect after a long wait for about six months. It's the latest of New York's efforts to reduce smoking in the city, which has already banned cigarettes and e-cigarettes in restaurants and bars, in parks or squares, and at the city's public beaches as of April 29. Some private residential buildings have also banned smoking.Better late than never, its impact can already be felt in the city! "Under 21, no tobacco," warned a small sign at the entrance of a small shop that sells smokes, newspapers, candy, coffee and cakes, in the Nolita neighbourhood. Citizens can purchase tobacco and cigarettes only after producing their valid identity cards that authenticate their age.Many have happily welcomed the initiative, Nataleigh Kohn, 23, who works at a startup company, underwent her ID check with good grace. "It is a good thing. People in high school can't start smoking," she said. Thomas Wall, 24, a former smoker, said that the measure probably wouldn't eliminate teen smoking all together. He compared the new age restriction to the ones around alcohol, which set the US drinking at 21. He reflected on the fact that when underage people want alcoholic drinks, they often get them from older people who purchase it for them.Shopkeeper Muhammad Arisur Khaman said that he's seen some complaints since the law has been implemented, but not many. He says, he just tells unhappy clients, "It's the law." The higher minimum age is "a step in the right direction," said Pat Bonadies, a teacher.Whatever the popular sentiments may be, this new initiative is definitely a step towards mass benefit and if followed sincerely it can help a large section of the American population which is dealing with the adverse effects of tobacco consumption.Inputs from AFP
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