Here at the Queens Chronicle, we dislike cigarettes. We dislike how they kill, we dislike how people waste money on them, we dislike the smell that rushes into the office anytime we open the front door while someone is smoking on the sidewalk. The few staffers we’ve had who smoke regularly know they’re addicts and would love to quit.
Over the years we’ve supported Mayor Bloomberg’s agressive stance against smoking — the ban in bars, the ban on beaches, the pending plan to keep tobacco products out of view in stores. All are valid efforts.
But we must part ways with the mayor, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other antismoking forces on the latest idea, raising the age to buy cigarettes to 21. Bad as it is, smoking is not like drinking, which often leads, for example, to drunk driving — hence the 21-and-over rule. Secondhand smoke is dangerous when frequently inhaled, but other than that, smokers are mostly hurting themselves.
At 18 you can vote, enter contracts, get married, even die serving in the military. Deciding to smoke at that age is your decision. Let’s drop this plan and refocus on persuasion, backed by the damning facts, to cut the scourge of smoking.