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The Wall Street Journal reports that Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday signed a law that raises the minimum age for tobacco purchases to 21 from 18.

"The new law – the strictest of any major city in the nation – is New York’s latest effort to combat smoking in the five boroughs and marks a reversal for Mr. Bloomberg, who previously opposed legislation to increase the minimum age to buy tobacco products," the Journal writes. "The law will take effect in mid-May, more than five months after Mr. Bloomberg steps down as mayor.

"A companion bill, also signed into law by the mayor on Tuesday, creates new penalties for the evasion of cigarette taxes, bans discounts on sales involving cigarettes, sets a price floor on packs of cigarettes and little cigars at $10.50 and requires inexpensive cigars to be sold in packages of no fewer than four."

Mayor Bloomberg said that he hopes the legislation will spur other municipalities to make similar moves.
KC's View:
I'm conflicted about this. On the one hand, if kids can vote and be sent off to war, it seems fair to allow them to buy tobacco products that, at least for time being, are legal. (They also ought to be allowed to buy a beer, by the way.)

On the other hand, anything that slows the source of tobacco consumption is, in my mind, a good thing.

I don't always agree with Mayor Bloomberg, but I do agree with something he said about the people who are saying that this new law will hurt commerce at a time when the economy still is fragile. That strikes me as such a short-sighted and shameful thing to say … and part of the problem with this country is that we think short-term instead of long-term.