Press Release: OCT 30, 2013
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City Council snubs vets, sets prices
Ignoring pleas to cut young soldiers, sailors and Marines some slack, the New York City Council voted 35 to 10 to make it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase tobacco products or accessories in the city.
“This is nanny-state government gone wild,” said Council Member Dan Halloran (R-Bayside) during his argument against the bills that among other things, make anyone with more than two cartons of cigarettes a “retail dealer.” The old limit was 25 cartons. Under existing law, retail cigarette dealers need a city license and if they don’t have one, they are subject to a minimum $250 fine.
The legislation also establishes a “price floor” for cigarettes and little cigars at $10.50 a pack and allows the city’s Health Commissioner to raise the price based on a number of factors. The bills also prohibit the use of coupons or discounts for cigarette sales.
Despite pleas from across the political spectrum, from avowed libertarian Halloran to former Black Panther Charles Barron warning that city shopkeepers would suffer and minority youths were more vulnerable to police scrutiny, some members voting for the bills claimed were “necessary” or “important.”
“Eighteen-year-olds are mature enough to fight and die for their country, mature enough to vote and control their bodies, but my Democrat colleagues are telling them they’re not mature enough to make a decision about smoking,” Halloran said. “We used to worry about a Communist dictatorship. It’s here.”