Lawmakers want New York City to be the first city in the U.S. to raise the legal smoking age to 21 from 18.
The law would make ban vendors from selling any tobacco products to New Yorkers under the age of 21, which Council Speaker Christine Quinn cautiously likened to the sale of alcoholic drinks.
She pointed to an 80 percent decline in drunk driving deaths after the drinking age increased in the 1980s.
Quinn stood alongside Health Department Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, fellow council memebers and anti-smoking advocates when she unveiled the new legislation today. The bill would join a group of bills also recently endorsed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg aimed at curbing New Yorkers' smoking habits.
"This can work," Quinn said during a press event at City Hall.