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Will NYC tobacco ban lead to similar policy in Idaho?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed legislation banning the sale of tobacco to anyone under the age of 21 Tuesday, but what if states, like Idaho, did the same?

Bloomberg made the decision hoping to keep young adults from getting addicted to tobacco in the first place. New York City is the first major city or state to make such a law.

According to the American Lung Association 90 percent of adults who use tobacco, started by the age of 21. 18-year-old Joseph Judd said New York City’s laws won’t change the habits of its young adults.

“It’d probably do the complete opposite, because kids like to do stuff against the rules, so they’d probably do it more,” said Judd.

New York City’s law doesn’t prevent 18-21-year-olds from possessing tobacco, but only from purchasing it. If Idaho adopted a similar law, Judd said he and any other young adult would have no problem maintaining the habit. N

“I have plenty of friends that are over the age of 21, so that wouldn’t stop me at all,” said Judd.

But Darrell Behunin sees things differently.

“We know the damage it does,” said Behunin. “There’s a lot of kids who smoke, so I think that’s a positive thing to do in my opinion.”

Some argue states would lose tax revenue if the law caught on with legislators. Idaho wouldn’t be hit nearly as hard as others. The state of Idaho has the 8th lowest tax rate on cigarettes at $0.57, while the rest of the United States averages $1.53.

“I’d say there’s other ways to get taxes other than sell a product that’s going to kill somebody,” said Behunin.

Judd, on the other hand, believes it’s a matter of principle.

“You can be in the army, you can go die for your county, but you can’t have a cigarette or put a dip in your mouth?” said Judd. “That sounds completely unfair.”

46 states all have the age requirement of 18 for tobacco sales. Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey and Utah all have a purchasing age of 19 for tobacco.

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