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New York City raises legal age for cigarettes to 21

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A New York City law banning cigarette sales to people under 21 was signed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday, the latest move in the Big Apple’s war on smoking.

The new law for the city of eight million, which also covers rolling tobacco and e-cigarettes, will take effect in six months time, a spokesman for Bloomberg said.

From May 2014, anyone wishing to buy cigarettes in the city will be required to show ID proving they are 21 or over, making it the first large city in the United States to raise the legal age of purchase so high.

Bloomberg said the law, which was passed by city councilors on October 30, “will prevent young people from experimenting with tobacco when they are most likely to become addicted.”

The new law reinforces New York City’s already stringent laws against smoking, which is forbidden in bars, restaurants, parks, public spaces and city beaches.

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Across the rest of New York state, with a total of almost 20 million people, the age for purchasing cigarettes remains 18.

Taxes on cigarettes in New York City are also the highest in the United States at $5.85 per pack, which sets the price of a pack at around about $12 (8.87 euros).

Bloomberg also signed another law on Tuesday which limits the cost of cut-price cigarettes sold with special discounts so that even the least pricey pack will still cost $10.50 dollars.

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The effects of New York City’s tough anti-smoking stance has seen declining numbers of adult smokers, slipping from 21.5 percent in 2002 to 14.8 percent in 2011, according to city hall. However the rate among young smokers has remained steady at around 8.5 percent since 2007, prompting the latest law.

Authorities hope the legislation will reduce smoking between 18 and 20-year-olds by as much as 55 percent.

Most cities and regions in the United States set the legal age for cigarette and tobacco sales at 18, although some states have raised the threshold to 19.

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And the small town of Needham outside Boston beat New York City to the punch, raising the age to 21 in 2005.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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Here’s the insidious role Sean Hannity played in derailing Al Franken’s political career

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The U.S. Senate lost one of its most prominent liberals when Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, dogged by sexual harassment allegations, announced his resignation in December 2017. Some of Franken’s defenders believed the Democratic Party was too quick to throw him under the bus; other Democrats stressed that in light of the #MeToo movement, his resignation was absolutely necessary. Franken’s political downfall is the subject of an in-depth report by the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, who describes — among many other things — the role that Fox News’ Sean Hannity played in the media firestorm.

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Commentary

The media got it wrong: There’s no evidence GOP support for Trump improved after his racist outburst

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One of the most popular articles last week involved claims that polls showed Republicans had increased their support of President Trump.  But a closer analysis of the data reveals that any increase in support was within the margin of error.  So the polls couldn’t conclude that GOP support for President Trump had gone up or down.

Polls are tricky creatures.  We either give them near god-like status, or discount them entirely, often depending on whether they show us what we want.

I remember the movie “Machete,” where an opportunistic Texas politician fakes his own shooting.  Within five minutes of that story breaking, the news anchor reported that the politician had drastically improved his standing in the polls.  Surveys don’t work that way.

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Activism

Rep. Rashida Tlaib defies Trump in NAACP speech: ‘I’m not going nowhere, not until I impeach this president’

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Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) defiantly insisted on Monday that she would be in Congress until President Donald Trump is impeached.

At the 2019 annual NAACP convention, the announcer noted that Tlaib is a member of the four congresswomen known as The Squad who have recently been told by Trump to "go back" home.

Tlaib began her remarks by alluding to the president's attack.

"I’m not going nowhere, not until I impeach this president," she shouted.

Watch the video below from the NAACP.

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