Update Later on Wednesday, the New York City Council voted 35 to 10 to pass a bill raising the minimum age to purchase cigarettes from 18 to 21.

Original Post Depending on how a City Council vote goes down today, you might need to be 21 to purchase cigarettes in New York City. The City Council is expected to vote today on a measure that would raise the smoking age in the city, where it’s getting harder and harder to smoke every day, to 21. And if it passes, it will take aim at the cool kids in high school (yes some things never change, the cool kids in high school still smoke) who are starting their countdowns to lung cancer.

“Why are we doing this? Well let’s look at the data. Eighty percent of adult smokers in New York City started before age 21,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is quoted as saying in a report from CBS New York. The measure also includes e cigarettes, and is seen as one more battle in Mayor Michael Bloomberg ongoing mission to make smoking in New York as difficult and expensive as possible. “Over his years in office, the city at times with the council’s involvement helped impose the highest cigarette taxes in the country, barred smoking at parks and on beaches and conducted sometimes graphic advertising campaigns about the hazards of smoking,” NBC New York reported, adding that officials say adult smoking rates in the city are currently at 14.8 percent versus 21.5 percent nine years ago.

Federal law says that the smoking age is 18 meaning young people born in 1995 are allowed to buy cigarettes right now but cities and municipalities are allowed to raise that age. In ancient Greek states some places the age is 19, and in Needham, Mass. you have be 21. And if the City Council votes to pass the measure today, New York City would become the biggest city in the country put the 21 year old age requirement on cigarettes.

‘loosie’ lockdown? michigan lawmaker seeks new penalties for selling, buying single cigarettes

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LANSING, MI A Detroit lawmaker is looking to crack down on “loosies,” single cigarettes removed from a pack and then sold individually.

The House Regulatory Reform Committee on Tuesday took testimony on a proposed bill that would add steep fines for anyone who sells or even purchases a single cigarette separate from its package in Michigan.

Sponsoring state Rep. Harvey Santana, D Detroit, said that illegal single cigarette sales are a major problem in urban areas and can encourage problematic loitering near liquor stores and gas stations.

“The issue goes beyond the sale of loosies,” said Santana, noting that Detroit Police Chief Craig James has urged store owners to stop selling single cigarettes as part of a push to create a safer business environment. “This type of behavior feeds into other types of criminal activity and directly impacts public safety.”

Steve Hood of the Michigan Association Food and Petroleum Dealers, said that store owners who play by the rules lose business to tobacco specialty shops, who would lose their unique ability to sell single cigarettes under Santana’s bill.

“When you go to a store in Detroit, you get bombarded by panhandlers,” said Hood. “It also happens in Flint. It happens in Pontiac. A lot of those panhandlers are trying to get that dollar up to buy that loose cigarette.”

Current state and federal law prohibits the sale but not the purchase of single cigarettes removed from a package with a tobacco tax stamp. Doing so in Michigan is a misdemeanor punishable by $500 per offense.

That’s nothing more “than a pin prick,” according to Hood, who said the penalty does not deter the crime.

Santana’s bill would instead impose a civil fine on violators, charging them $1,000 for a first offense, $5,000 for a second offense and $10,000 for a third offense within any three year period.

The legislation would also make purchasing a loose cigarette a misdemeanor crime punishable by a fine of up to $500, a provision that proved controversial during the committee hearing.

State Rep. David Nathan, D Detroit, said it would be “crazy” to treat everyone who tries to buy a loose cigarette as a criminal.

“They have an addiction, but they don’t have $7 to buy a pack of cigarettes,” Nathan said. “I think it should be illegal to sell a single cigarette, and I think we should increase penalties for stores, but I do not think we should criminalize someone who wants to buy a cigarette.”

State Rep. Woodrow Stanley, D Flint, agreed. He noted the case of Eric Gardner, a New York City man who recently died after a confrontation with police who were investigating him for selling loose cigarettes.

“Cracking down on these panhandlers isn’t solving a problem, that’s a symptom,” Stanley said. “&#8230 Laws like this give an opportunity for police departments to bring a hammer down on folks that don’t have any ability to fight back.”

But Santana dismissed the New York comparison and said it was appropriate to penalize businesses that sell loose cigarettes but also expect “personal responsibility” from purchasers.

Hood agreed that customers should be penalized for their participation in an illegal transaction. “I’m sorry we’ve got to hit the little people who want to buy loosies for $1, but we’ve got to stop it,” he said. “The loitering is insane.”

Enforcing existing “loosie” law is not necessarily a high priority for local police, but the new legislation would build in an incentive The agency issuing a citation to a store owner would be entitled to 60 percent of the revenue collected from the fine.

Another 20 percent would go to the court that collected the fine, and the remaining 20 percent would go to the Department of Treasury tobacco tax unit.

Fines imposed on purchasers would benefit public libraries.

The committee did not vote on the loosie cigarette bill or any others Tuesday.

Jonathan Oosting is a Capitol reporter for MLive Media Group. Email him, find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.