The Absurd New Smoking Age Law

Jazmine Routin

In December 2019, a new law raising the legal age of buying tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21 was passed by both houses of Congress. On December 20, 2019, President Donald Trump signed the bill into law and it immediately took into effect.

What’s the point of changing the tobacco law now?

Other than possibly saving some people’s lives, nothing. Out of 4.7 million young adults, about half of them will actually abide by this law. The age of buying tobacco products should have never changed. Congress just passed the law because the issue was slid into a “must be passed” folder. This “folder” includes the federal budget that Congress has to agree with and pass. If Congress did not pass this package, then the federal government would have shut down.

Although this new mandate could possibly save lives, a lot of young adults are already hooked on at least one tobacco product. The American Lung Association believes that the tobacco 21 law could save at least 223,000 young lives. They also believe that tobacco use for 15-17-year-olds will decrease by 25% and 18-20-year-olds will decrease by 15%.

I believe that this new law won’t really affect anything. People will still find a way to buy tobacco products If they truly want it. This law should have started a long time ago. Instead, you have these young adults already hooked onto these tobacco products.

When are you truly an adult?

If 18-year-olds are allowed to join the military and make an educated vote for the presidency and live on their own then why not be able to choose if they are allowed to smoke? Did the government really think this one through? Hard to believe that they did. According to the Cato Institute, the new law could make things worse. This would only be pushing them to consume a traditional combustible type of tobacco instead of a relatively safer vaping device.

A very eye-opening quote from Trevor Burrus, from Cato Institute, states “It is dismaying that there are those who would give a gun to an 18-year-old to kill people in foreign countries, yet they would not let them buy tobacco products”.