Boys and Cigarettes: New York Lays Down the Law

A Cigarette Law.

Since the death of a little boy in Brooklyn, whose fatal disease was plainly traced to cigarette smoking, public opinion has been attracted anew to this subject. Convulsions, a wasting away of the body, with loss of memory and breaking down of the nervous system, are some of the results of the consumption of cigarettes by boys.

The New York legislature has passed a low on the subject that might be taken as a pattern by other states desiring to stop this ruinous practice. That is to say, as far as law can stop anything. Time and again it has been proved that public opinion must enforce a law or it is no good. So ignorant are parents themselves of the deadly effects of cigarettes that in many cases they permit their boys to smoke them at home. Later, when these fair, handsome boys turn out drunkards or opium eaters, or grow into stunted, pale little men, the parents may or may not remember the cigarette smoking.

The New York law is as follows:
“No child, actually or apparently under 1? years of age, shall smoke or in any way use any cigar, cigarette or tobacco, in any form whatsoever, in any public street, place or resort. A violation of this subdivision shall be a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $1? and not less than $2 each offense.”

It may be remarked that dealers when asked by a boy who comes under the specified age for cigarettes, will tell the boy to send some one older than himself, and then he can let him have the goods.

The News (Frederick, Maryland) Jun 18, 1890

NOTE: Age and maximum fine were illegible, but both had a “1” then another number I couldn’t make out.

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