City and state lawmakers are joining forces in an attempt to make buying tobacco as hard as buying alcohol.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a mayoral candidate, joined state Senator Diane Savino and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal in City Hall on Sunday to announce legislation that would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 statewide, from 18.
They say 90 percent of people buying cigarettes for minors are between the ages of 18 and 20.
The state Health Department also says 88 percent of adult smokers today began smoking before the of 19.
"By raising the minimum age to legally purchase tobacco products in New York City from 18 to 21, the same age it is to start drinking, we could potentially reduce the smoking rate among 18- to 20-year-olds by 55 percent and reduce the smoking rate among 14- to 17-year-olds by two-thirds," Quinn said.
The move comes on the heels of similar legislation that was introduced in the city last week.
A council hearing on the city legislation is scheduled for Thursday.