Yes, New York should raise the minimum age for cigarette purchases to 21. I believe people younger than this cannot make wise decisions for themselves. Studies show that the teenage brain is not fully developed and can't make good decisions. Too many young people are smoking as it is. Maybe by raising the minimum age it can cut down on cancers and other diseases that come from long-term smoking.
Smoking is a public health hazard, and the fewer people out there puffing their lives away, the better! Children should not have access to any type of tobacco until they are legally permitted to drink alcohol. I see no harm in raising the legal smoking age to 21, but there are many benefits.
It is scientifically proven that tobacco smoke is detrimental to your health, people know that cigarettes contain tobacco, nicotine, tar, and many other harmful ingredients so it should be up to someone to decide if they want to smoke cigarettes. Instead the focus should be on banning or restricting genetically modified food, and food from cows treated with artificial growth hormones such as rBGH, BST, rBST. Since such food is not labeled, those who drink it are drinking poison that increases your risk of getting cancer, shouldn't they at least know it?
Yes, cigarettes are unhealthy. Yes, people shouldn't smoke. Yes, people should be prevented from smoking in areas where their secondhand smoke will affect other people. But, no, you have no right to tell other people what they put into their bodies. No, not even people younger than you. Ever heard of bodily autonomy? Age restrictions of any kind are unjustified. Educate people and then let them make their own decisions, for better or for worse.
Just because it's about "health" doesn't mean you aren't moralizing. Everybody makes choices every single day that involve tradeoffs of health and some other benefit such as physical pleasure or even work success (think of workaholics). Look at your own life and see what sorts of things you do that aren't the best for your health. Would you like to banned from them? The cigarette age should remain at 18, and the alcohol age should be lowered to 18 as well. An adult is an adult. People say the brain is still developing. In actuality the idea that the brain quits developing is a myth science has discredited, it slows down and this coincides with a person figuring out their identity and becoming more focused in life while studies of taxi drivers show structural differences after they have been at the job for some time which suggests it may have less to do with anything innate and more to do with what's socially the norm for how people develop and how the brain wires itself to adapt to that sort of environment rather than any sort of innate inborn path.
18-24 is generally the stage in life where a person as an independent adult puts together their life and their identity. It is necessary for this period of freedom to take place while there is still good neuroplasticity. A person must be flexible to truly figure out who they are. That comes from their decisions over time it's not your decision. They have had 18 years to be told by their parents and society that cigarettes and other things are bad for them (and likely rebelled against this rule too). At 18 let them make their own decision.