By: Jennalyn Reyes
In 2019, the law was changed to raise the legal age that someone can buy a cigarette from 18 to 21. There are many benefits to this law being signed since it is a well known fact that smoking can cause a plethora of health issues for anyone who uses cigarettes long-term and even short-term.
According to the American Lung Association, raising the age could reduce “…lung cancer deaths by 50,000.” They also stated that this law could “prevent 223,000 deaths among people born between 2000 and 2019.”
So not only is this law benefiting children but also people of all ages from infants to young adults.
The reasons for the government changing this law are more pointed towards health benefits and public health. The smoking law being raised will reduce the number of adolescents and children who start smoking.
Increasing the tobacco age to 21 will help counter the efforts of the tobacco companies to target young people at a critical time when many move from experimenting with tobacco to regular smoking.
Tobacco companies intentionally market to kids and young adults trying to recruit them as “replacement smokers”,meaning they will take the place of older generations of people that use tobacco products regularly.
Some cons to this is that some people don’t agree with the idea that 18-year-olds can get married, join the military and sign legal and binding contracts yet they can’t buy alcohol or cigarettes. There are also some concerns about how it could be enforced and what it could cost taxpayers.
Some people think that raising the age is pointless because there is no substantial research that has been presented that proves that raising the legal age will stop teenagers from picking up the habit.
Experts say that age has little to do with the fact that smoking is already declining, it is more to do with the fact that public smoking has been frowned upon and kids and young adults are not exposed to it as much anymore so there is less of a desire to partake in the act.
Raising the legal age for buying tobacco could also potentially change the trend of young people not wanting to smoke in recent years. There have been studies showing that when laws don’t personally affect teens such as the curfew law there are less crimes and acts of rebellion. So some would argue to leave things as they are just for the sake of continuing the trend of declining smoking rates. However both sides of this argument can agree that most teenagers that smoke are getting their cigarettes and other tobacco products from their friends.