California raised the smoking age from 18 to 21, making it the second state to pass this law. At the age of 18, we are allowed to make big, life-changing decisions such as, voting, buying a house or enlisting in the army, but cannot be trusted with the choice to smoke or not.
Data has found that increasing the age of using tobacco to 21 will drop the percentages of people who smoke and ultimately save “thousands of lives.” And who wouldn’t be all for that? However, it is not fair to take that right from people who America considers to be adults.
If we can make adult decisions at 18 then we should be allowed to do adult activities at 18. We have the right to buy and own property, but no longer have the right to buy a pack of cigarettes? That’s absurd. We can choose to go to war, but we don’t have the choice to smoke a cigarette? That’s even more absurd.
Smoking is a health issue and nothing more. If raising the smoking age is supposed to save lives and fix people’s health then why don’t we raise the age of eating junk food? There are a lot of young kids who are overweight or obese, but you don’t see the state taking away their right to junk food.
There are many other things that are just as bad for your health, so why have they cracked down on cigarettes?
I am a non-smoker and I hate the smell of cigarettes. Yes, I would love if less people smoked. But raising the age isn’t going to fix that. Just like underage drinking, there is always a way.
At 18, we are expected to make a lot of life-long choices such as what college we are going to go to, what career we want to have or what we will study. We can apply for credit and get loans. We are expected to act like adults. So why aren’t we getting treated like adults?
We know that smoking cigarettes is bad for us and addictive, but we should be allowed to make that choice for ourselves. Some people use smoking for other reasons, like a stress relief. Maybe it’s not the best way to relieve anxiety, but they should be allowed to at least have the option.
If ultimately the reason for changing the smoking age is to save lives and cut the percentage of people and teens who smoke, then the only real effective solution is to stop producing cigarettes.
Instead of babying teens, we need to educate them. They need to learn for themselves. And if they have to learn the hard way by ending up sick from smoking everyday that is on them, and no one else.
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