NYC smoking age raised to 21 from 18

A smoker enjoys a cigarette outside an office

A smoker enjoys a cigarette outside an office building in Manhattan. (April 23, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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College-aged smokers looking to legally light up will have to stock up fast.

The City Council passed a bill Wednesday that raises the legal age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21. The bill passed 35-10.

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The city's health department and the mayor have been working to curb teen smoking for years. They have said that raising the minimum age could reduce smoking among 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds by 55 percent.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he will sign the bill, which also affects electronic cigarettes. It will go into effect in the spring. It does not outlaw teens' possession of cigarettes.

Audrey Silk, the founder of smokers rights group NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, called the bill an infringement on choice.

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