New York is about to adopt a law that will raise the legal age for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21, making NYC the strictest major city in the country about smoking. A bill staking out the new rules was passed by City Council yesterday and is expected to be signed by Mayor Bloomberg.

The lawmakers’ reasoning is obvious: cigarettes are 100% terrible for you and will likely give you cancer. Not smoking is generally good policy for anyone who doesn’t have a death wish. On the other hand, if an 18 year old New Yorker is adult enough to sign up and go to war for his country, isn’t he adult enough to have a smoke in his hometown when he gets back?

And kids who really¬†want to smoke will still be able to, legally. The new law doesn’t outlaw the possession of cigarettes, only their purchase. What teenager doesn’t know some 21-year-old who’s willing to lend the occasional helping hand?

(Photo: Fried Dough/Flickr)