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Raising Smoking Age to 21 is Proposed in NYC

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The New York City Council is proposing to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21. Although 18 year old teens can purchase cigarettes in New York City at this time, that may change due to this move in the City Council to revise the smoking age. The reason for the proposed change is simple, legislators would like to give young people another three years to be smoke free in the hopes that they may never pick up the habit.

Smoking is harmful, as described in the warning on the side of each pack. The cost is going sky high. For some teens, there may be an even more harmful choice to be made between smoking and eating a nutritious meal due to tight household budgets.  Cigarette smoking may also be harmful to children with a whole array of conditions which are expensive to treat, including bronchitis, asthma, attention deficit disorder, post traumatic stress syndrome and even diabetes. Second hand smoke is also known to be harmful.

Any incremental harm to children from smoking will also result in additional Medicaid costs in a system that is already strapped for resources, and  governmental actions that result in making people more healthy will not only lower Medicaid costs permanently but will also save lives.

Most schools and workplaces have banned or severely restricted smoking.  The restriction is important to maintain so that students will have greater oxygenation and breathing capacity to perform better in all areas of academe with particular emphasis on standardized tests and gymnastics.

The legislation is sponsored by Councilman James Gennaro. Council
Speaker Christine Quinn is one of the bill’s biggest supporters. The
government at all levels must be conscious of issues like smoking which
impact the quality of life.

For instance, the US population is growing by over a million people per year, and could reach a half billion before the turn of this century, and our  health care resources systems must be able to meet this growing demand by encouraging strategies which prevent disease.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.
  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    Cigarette smoking does not afflict children with the conditions listed. Cigarette smoking may be harmful to children who have these conditions already. This wording was in my original submission.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Any incremental harm to children from smoking will also result in additional Medicaid costs in a system that is already strapped for resources,”

    This is the primary line of argument that makes me wary of government interference in healthcare. With a private system, my decisions effect my cost and are a direct feedback for me, with the government system my decisions effect everyone else and are therefore logically subject to regulation. Regulation is then set to idiotproof the world meaning additional interference in my life. In this specific case, while it will have no effect on me, I don’t think it’s my decision whether other people should choose to smoke or not. Although I would strongly advise against it, that should be left up to the individual. I think that’s the primary thing that separates me from the modern liberal, I see all the same problems and solutions they do I just don’t believe in using government coercion to achieve them… to me it is not a necessary evil, just evil.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Yeah, just like stop signs and DUI laws are evil, too, huh?

  • Dr Dreadful

    But to be fair, Glenn, the government doesn’t license the sale of books entitled How to Drink, Drive and Run Stop Signs for Fun and Profit on the one hand and then tell you you can’t do those things on the other!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Nobody likes laws and regulations that keep them from doing (or at least minimizing) what they want to do…but such laws are a good thing when it comes to preventing harm to innocent people.

  • Doug Hunter

    #3

    Not very good choices for comparison, those are both designed to protect others directly. Smoking in very limited, concentrated areas over a long period can effect others but generally only harms the person choosing to smoke. DUI laws are valid. I don’t think stop signs are evil so much as optional.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I don’t think stop signs are evil so much as optional.

    LOL. Round these parts, that’s known as the California roll…

    While it does take a lot of exposure to secondhand smoke to induce health problems, I must say that it is nice being able to go to a restaurant or bar in this state without being enveloped in clouds of cigarette smoke.

    Pipes and cigars I don’t mind so much, but the cigarette seems to have been developed to be as foul-smelling and as lingering as possible.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    To put it another way, my freedom ends where yours begins, but your freedom ends where mine begins, too.

  • Doug Hunter

    #8

    Actually, the point I was driving at is that in a welfare state there is no line between you and me. When I make economically bad (isn’t that what it’s all about) choices it costs you in higher taxes to pay my share, therefore it becomes your goal to eliminate my choice. That’s one of the main two issues I have with the system.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    You’re comparing an orange to my apple.

    I didn’t mention taxes at all, did I? The fact that it makes good economic sense to outlaw that which people do that causes sickness and death to innocent people is secondary. The primary issue is preventing one person’s actions from adversely affecting the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of another person.

    Again, the good economic sense is secondary, a selling point, if you will, to use for those empathy-challenged people who don’t really give a damn about how their actions adversely affect other people.

  • Baronius

    Glenn, you’re missing Doug’s point.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Well, Baronius, as poor a shot as Glenn often is nowadays, Doug does seem to have expanded the discussion to such an extent that it now contains many points, and it would be surprising if Glenn didn’t miss at least some of them.

  • Doug Hunter

    #12

    It’s always easy to see your own point regardless of how confusing it may be to an innocent bystander. I don’t know how I can communicate the idea any more clearly.

    My first post quotes the following:

    “Any incremental harm to children from smoking will also result in additional Medicaid costs in a system that is already strapped for resources,”

    This argument is in line with the point I was trying to make then and in subsequent posts. Without government tying us together, your smoking costs you, not me. In a welfare state, your decision to smoke costs me as I am on the hook for a share of your bill. It makes Glenn’s quote regarding my freedom ending where yours begins alot murkier as almost every thing I do effects you in some clear way.

    Perhaps you could explain what you don’t understand about that thought (admittedly a tough assignment).

    #10

    Glenn, you still missed the point. It may shock you to know that there are some things in life that are worth a mild or even moderate risk of illness, injury, or death and many people do. Ever swim in a pool? Ride a motorcycle? Go out in the sun? Drugs? Alcohol? Even the lowly cigarette has it’s place as a choice in my book. I don’t believe in making those decisions for other people especially through government coercion.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    Glenn, you still missed the point. It may shock you to know that there are some things in life that are worth a mild or even moderate risk of illness, injury, or death and many people do. Ever swim in a pool? Ride a motorcycle? Go out in the sun? Drugs? Alcohol?

    No, you – and Baronius, apparently – missed my point. Look at your examples:

    Swimming: if you go swimming, are you putting someone else’s health at risk? No – you’re only risking your own life, except perhaps for the lifeguard.

    Riding a motorcycle: again, if you’re riding a motorcycle, while you might put someone else’s life at risk, but it’s generally only your own life at risk.

    Going out in the sun: again, you’re only putting yourself at risk. Other people don’t suffer health risks from you getting a sunburn.

    Drugs: Such are a risk if – and only if – you’re driving drugged, or if you go bonkers with something like bath salts or PCP, or if you’re subsidizing your friendly neighborhood concealed-carrying drug dealer. Generally speaking, though, you’re only risking your own life.

    Alcohol: Ditto. You might be a violent drunk, but except for that, or if you’re driving drunk, you’re only risking your own life – or at least your own liver.

    But the problem is with cigarettes is that if you smoke, so does everyone else around you, if to a somewhat lesser extent. This includes your friends, your spouse, your co-workers (if they allow smoking at work), your children, your baby.

    My point – which apparently nobody got – was that in a free society, people should be free from other people forcing them to inhale that which is bad for their health. It is a fact that in a welfare state – which we thankfully have – it makes economic sense to legally diminish non-smokers’ exposure to cigarette smoke…and this fact is secondary to the fact that your freedom to smoke ends where the air I breathe begins.

  • Doug Hunter

    #14

    I have no more time to talk past each other. Your points regarding second hand smoke, while valid, have little to do with my original comment… a non-sequiter if you will. If the issues regarding smoking were only second hand smoke it is/has been long rectified. Last I checked no one is forcing you to breathe anything.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    Last I checked no one is forcing you to breathe anything.

    So when I’m working in an office and people are smoking in that office, I’ve got a really easy choice – I can either quit or stop breathing. Is that freedom in your eyes?

    And concerning your original comment:

    This is the primary line of argument that makes me wary of government interference in healthcare. With a private system, my decisions effect my cost and are a direct feedback for me, with the government system my decisions effect everyone else and are therefore logically subject to regulation. (boldface mine)

    If your smoking only affected you and nobody else, you’d have a wonderful point. The thing is, Doug, cigarette smoke DOES affect other people:

    - An estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in people who are current non-smokers
    – About 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults
    – Worse asthma and asthma-related problems in up to 1 million asthmatic children
    – Between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections (lung and bronchus) in children under 18 months of age, with 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations each year
    – Children exposed to secondhand smoke are much more likely to be put into intensive care when they have the flu, they are in the hospital longer, and are more likely to need breathing tubes than kids who aren’t exposed to SHS
    – In the United States, the costs of extra medical care, illness, and death caused by SHS are over $10 billion per year

    Again, Doug, your freedom ends where mine begins. You have no right to smoke in situations where I’d have no choice but to breathe it.

  • Baronius

    If your freedom ends where mine begins, but you’re in charge of paying for my health care, educading my kids, and and planning for my retirement, where does my freedom begin?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    If your freedom ends where mine begins, but you’re in charge of paying for my health care, educading my kids, and and planning for my retirement, where does my freedom begin?

    Nobody’s stopping you from paying for your health care – but if you can’t, the government can help.

    You can home-school your kids if you want – but if you can’t or simply don’t have the time and/or patience, the government provides public schools.

    You can plan your retirement all you want – but if your investments evaporate (thanks to shenanigans in the private sector in all such cases so far), you won’t starve.

    In other words, you have all the freedom you need to succeed, but you also have the freedom to recover from setbacks – for without the social safety net, it’s much, much harder to bounce back from major health issues or personal tragedy. Even with the social safety net it’s difficult to bounce back, but without it…that’s something you don’t want to experience.

  • Doug Hunter

    #17

    I could have told you it was a lost cause. He’s bound and determined not to address that argument directly, but to instead bring up the separate issue of second hand smoke over and over and over. It only took me three tries to give up this time… I’m getting wiser (plus I don’t want to trigger a red state-blue state comparison which is where he usually winds up).

  • Glenn Contrarian

    He’s bound and determined not to address that argument directly, but to instead bring up the separate issue of second hand smoke over and over and over.

    Never mind that your original argument in #2 was directly addressing the issue of costs and regulations associated with second hand smoke.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Is it actually the case that in a private health care system individual choices, for example smoking, only have an economic effect on the individual? It isn’t true in car insurance, where premiums for all frequently go up because of the levels of claims made by others…

    Although I no longer smoke cigarettes (was smoking over 50 a day strong plain cigarettes when I gave up), I don’t think all public places should ban smoking. I think it is okay to ban smoking in common public spaces such as public transport, government offices and so on, but for bars, restaurants and other private enterprises, the owners ought to be able to choose freely whether they allow it.

    I’ve spent a lot of time in dark, smoke filled paces and had an absolutely fantastic time. I’ve also been in other places where the smell of somebody else smoking has made me feel ill.

    Just as it should be the choice of a private business owner how they run their business, it is my choice where I choose to go.

  • Baronius

    Doug – One man sows, another reaps. If I can’t get him to address the argument, at least maybe I helped him to recognize it. I like to think that in twenty years, all the people on the message boards I frequent will say, “oh, he was right all along”. But I don’t expect much before then. (I also have to wonder, what will I realize in 20 years that I’m missing now.)

  • Dr Dreadful

    (plus I don’t want to trigger a red state-blue state comparison which is where he usually winds up).

    Does quantum entanglement happen more in red states or blue states?

    :-p

  • Dr Dreadful

    Just as it should be the choice of a private business owner how they run their business, it is my choice where I choose to go.

    Well, perhaps, but most restaurants and many bars will eject customers who are exhibiting anti-social behaviour. Smoking certainly falls into that category nowadays.

    If I’m going out for a meal with my wife I can expect, no matter where we choose to go, not to have to deal with roaring drunk punters picking fights with other diners and pissing all over the tables. I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable to expect a smoke-free environment either.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Doc, sure, but there are those who like what some would call anti-social behaviour and for most of my life I have been one of them.

    I agree that your wife and you should be able to go out and have a “nice” time but there should be free choices available, not enforced conformity.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Is it actually the case that in a private health care system individual choices, for example smoking, only have an economic effect on the individual?”

    With an insurance contract you have a choice, with the so called social contract no such luck. If I’m not mistaken private insurance can put smokers in a separate pool and charge higher rates as well.

    Glenn, I see your point as it relates to second hand smoke and the quote mentioning children, not sure if changing the age from 18-21 is the most effective way of addressing that myself but that’s a separate issue. You’ve effectively dodged the argument on a technicality this time, won’t be so lucky the next!

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    There isn’t really that much of a choice is there, Doug? Insurance companies share data just like credit card companies do. There might be small variations in costs but nothing wildly out of step.

    Even if they put smokers in a separate pool, increasing claims would still increase costs for all smokers, right?

  • Doug Hunter

    #27

    “Even if they put smokers in a separate pool, increasing claims would still increase costs for all smokers, right?”

    Of course, but you are under no obligation to pay (until the latest healthcare plan takes effect). You can choose to not smoke or choose to not pay the cost of insurance for smokers. I’ve chosen a middle ground personally. I’m a non smoker but have been satisfied with a very low cost catastrophic plan. Even when you factor in the fact that I had to actually use it in an emergency and paid out the nose it has been a much better choice than a full coverage plan which would have cost more than that in increased premiums over the years. Of course, that plan will be outlawed (technically grandfathered) under the new law. Additionally, maternity coverage is lacking where I live so we decided to simply make a payment arrangement directly with the hospital for our children that was actually cheaper that the outrageous private insurance rates. When you have a private insurance market you have a range of options you can choose and I’m satisfied with the choices I’ve made, some of those choices will be eliminated under the new system.

    As a principle, I will always reserve the right to complain more about the social contract I never signed than the actual contract I did.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    I didn’t ‘dodge the issue on a technicality’. I am simply pointing out when you smoke, you are by the physical nature of cigarettes forcing anyone close by to you to smoke as well. I should not have to inhale cigarette smoke because Joe has an addiction to cigarettes.

    No one person has any right to force other people – whether children or adult – to inhale the smoke from his or her cigarette.

    Perhaps it would help if I put it another way: if the people who live next door to you – whether it’s an apartment, condo, or house – decide to play their music really loud to the point where you cannot help but hear it, are you going to defend their ‘right’ to play the music so loud? Or are you going to raise hell and point out that it doesn’t matter how hard of hearing they may be, they have no right to essentially force you to listen to their music from morning till night?

    You’re probably going to raise hell.

    And it’s the same thing with cigarettes. If you just want to get angry with someone for you not being able to smoke in public establishments, then get angry with the people who manufactured the cigarettes in such a way that it got you addicted to them in the first place.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Doug –

    Okay, your issue is really about the money and not so much about being able to smoke where you want, when you want. So I’ll put it this way: smoking has gone way down in the past three decades. Why? Because we’re taxing the heck out of cigarettes (at least to some extent to offset their cost to society) and setting ever-more restrictive boundaries on where people can smoke…

    …and yes, these are working to minimize smoking in America. If you go overseas to where there are no such laws and regulations, smoking is still endemic throughout society, like China, for example.

    In other words, in a socialized democracy like ours, you’re going to pay for other peoples’ bad habits whether you like it or not. The best way we have of minimizing the cost (to you, the taxpayer) of those bad habits are taxes and legal restrictions on those bad habits.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And one more thing:

    As a principle, I will always reserve the right to complain more about the social contract I never signed than the actual contract I did.

    You should be careful about using that as an excuse to complain. It is true that none of us signed up to pay taxes for a police department, or a fire department, or for anything else the government does, so should all government laws, restrictions, taxes, and benefits be withheld from each person until he or she is old enough to decide whether or not to live under that government? That’s a can of worms I don’t think you want to open.

  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    At bottom, NYC is limiting harm to young people by taking this action. The idea is to keep cigs away from young adults for another three years in the hopes that they will never smoke. The government has a right to make this call because the social Medicaid funding is very tight and the population keeps growing. The only way out is to make people healthier for longer periods of time.

  • Baronius

    …or cut back the programs. You might not like that, but it is another way out. (Always be careful when the only way out is the thing you wanted in the first place; you’re probably overlooking some options.)

  • Clav

    smoking has gone way down in the past three decades. Why? Because we’re taxing the heck out of cigarettes (at least to some extent to offset their cost to society)

    Unless you have documented proof of that, it’s an unwarranted assumption.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Doubtless it is one reason, though, Clav. I strongly suspect that anti-smoking campaigns have also had a significant impact, as have bans on smoking in public places and workplaces.

    Not to mention that it simply isn’t considered fashionable, attractive or “cool” to smoke any more.

  • Clav

    as have bans on smoking in public places and workplaces

    That, likely, more than any other reason.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    I agree about the importance of the bans, but do you really think that high taxes wouldn’t have any significant effect on the smoking rate? One could point to the failure of Prohibition, but cigarettes aren’t illegal – they’re just expensive as all get out.

  • Clav

    but cigarettes aren’t illegal – they’re just expensive as all get out.

    So is dope — and its sales have never been better. Dope users are addicted to it — and smokers are addicted to their cigarettes.

    High prices of cigarettes have probably had some effect in reducing sales, but probably not much of one, and likely they have also had an effect in increasing crime to get the dinero to buy the ciggies.

  • http://internationalvaporgroup.com/ InternationalVaporGroup.com

    This is great, raising smoking age to 21 can definitely help the government to keep young ones away from cigarettes.