New smoking laws are a step in the right direction


Grayson Joslin, Editor

In December 2019, the United States Congress passed a new law declaring that the legal age of smoking would be raised from 18 years old to 21 years old. It was signed into law by President Donald Trump on December 20, taking effect immediately. Under this new law, it is illegal for any retailer to sell products including cigarettes, cigars, and vapes. By raising the legal age to buy tobacco and vaping products, users who are of the ages of 18-20 do not have a grandfather clause to allow them to keep buying these products.  This comes after the underage vaping epidemic of the past few years. This new nationwide law is a step in the right direction to curb teenage use of vapes.

In 2019, with deaths caused from vapes becoming more prevalent, President Trump proposed a new law that would ban flavored vapes – fruit, candy, mint, and mango flavors would all be outlawed by this federal edict. The President, however, backed off his support after fearing that jobs could be lost.

According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, 5.3 million teenagers have used vapes. Vapes and e-cigarettes usually have a solution that includes nicotine, which is an addictive chemical, coated in yummy flavors that have deceived many teenagers across the nation – and causing them to be addicted in the process. After trying a few times, teenagers can have a constant craving for vapes and e-cigarettes, caused by nicotine.

A report by the Institute of Medicine states that raising the legal age could prevent almost 300,000 deaths, with 223,000 of those being premature deaths. A startling ninety-five percent of adult smokers started before the age of 21. This law can be successful if retail stores strictly abide by the law and not sell tobacco products to underage consumers.

Raising the legal age is also critical from a scientific standpoint. The human brain usually does not fully develop until around 25 years of age, and addiction to chemicals like nicotine can dramatically alter how a person’s brain works.

More than 480,000 people die from tobacco use related deaths every year, making it the leading preventable cause of death in the nation. Smoking-related illness cost the United States a distressing $300 billion every year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

E-cigarettes have been linked to numerous health issues, including lung and heart diseases. Numerous teenagers have been hospitalized due to vaping-related issues, with some teenagers even dying due to medical issues caused by using vapes. Students claim vaping does not harm them, however, if a person becomes addicted to it, they may face serious health issues.

The crisis of youth vaping is an important problem that our country faces right now. Countless numbers of teenagers are becoming addicted to these devices, and it is an addiction that can continue for the rest of their lives. The causes of the vaping epidemic are numerous. Students still vape in high schools across the country even after students have been handed down suspensions. The age limit is a start to combat the youth vaping epidemic. More must be done, however, as both the federal and state government have to make combating this crisis a priority. Many other courses of action might be taken, such as permanently banning flavored vapes, but as of right now, raising the legal age is the right way to begin the War on Youth Vaping.