The New York City Council has passed legislation on Wednesday that will raise the legal age for buying tobacco products from 18 to 21.
If Mayor Mike Bloomberg signs the legislation, the city would become the first in the nation to raise the minimum buying age to above 19.
According to the City Council, smoking by youths has fallen by half between 2001 and 2007.
"This legislation will reduce smoking rates among New Yorkers -- especially young New Yorkers -- sparing them years of nicotine addiction and health problems," Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement. "We can't stand by to watch another generation suffer from the harmful effects of smoking -- and that's why we must act now."