New York's "public health" mayor, Michael Bloomberg, reinforced his legacy on Tuesday (November 19) when he signed a law that prevented the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to those under the age of 21.
Bloomberg, who ten years ago passed a law that banned smoking in bars and restaurants, signed the new bill at a ceremony at city hall.
"People always try to put things like selling cigarettes into the context of jobs and whether or not it helps or hurts stores. I think that is just so outrageously misplaced. This is an issue of whether we're going to kill people," explained Bloomberg.
"This century a billion people will die from smoking in the world and we don't want any of the people that die to be New Yorkers. That's the one thing we can do and the people that try to change the argument to an economic one really ought to look in the mirror and be ashamed," he argued.
New York will be the first large city in the U.S. to prevent the sale of cigarettes and tobacco to those under the age of 21, even though those over 18 can still possess and smoke cigarettes without issue.
In the streets of New York, despite the efforts of Bloomberg during his tenure, smoking remains common and many smokers are unhappy with the new law.
"I just feel like if younger kids are going to smoke they're going to smoke anyway. I know plenty of people that have been smoking since they 16, 14-years old and they're still smoking now," said Danny, a New York smoker who only 19-years old and will be prevented from buying cigarettes.
The new law, which was passed by the city council last month, will go into effect in 180 days from the receipt of the mayor's signature.
Presented by Adam Justice