NEW YORK -- Young New Yorkers who want to smoke will soon have to wait for their 21st birthdays before they can buy a pack of cigarettes.
That's because the New York City Council has voted overwhelmingly to approve a bill that would raise the purchasing age for cigarettes, certain tobacco products and even electronic-vapor smokes from 18 to 21.
Lawmakers voted Wednesday. The bill is supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He has 30 days to sign it into law.
The council also passed a bill that sets a minimum $10.50-a-pack price for tobacco cigarettes and steps up law enforcement on illegal tobacco sales.
Advocates hope raising the age will reduce smoking rates among young people. Critics say it's patronizing to bar people from smoking while allowing them to serve in the military.