Why Kids Should Be Able to Buy Cigarettes When They're 18

Rant 19

cigarettesPoliticians are proposing a new way to keep smokes out of the hands of kids. A measure in New York City would make the sale of cigarettes to anyone under 21 a crime -- the toughest law in any major American city. Considering no parent wants to see their kid puffing away, this should be a no-brainer, right?

Wrong! The proposed tobacco law sounds great on the surface, but there's one major problem parents have to face.  

Kids don't wait until they can buy cigarettes to smoke them. In fact, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 90 percent of smokers had their first cigarette before age 18.

So much for legislating our kids away from the cancer sticks, huh?

Under the NY proposal, there wouldn't be a law against possession -- just sales -- so the idea of pushing the cigarette age to 21 is to cut access, thereby reducing the will to smoke.

Only we have proof that it doesn't work. Kids are already smoking well before the age of purchase. Which proves that the real problem comes before kids hit 18 and are able to buy. The real problem comes when we still have control over our kids.

We shouldn't be holding out hope that a law can keep our adult children from making bad choices. That we'd have to infantilize our adults to get them to act in a certain way is a scary sign of the future for America. It's a sign that parents aren't doing their jobs before kids get to adulthood.

It isn't the responsibility of lawmakers to keep our kids in line when they leave our clutches.

It's up to us, parents, to teach our kids that smoking is bad for them, to raise kids who will make good choices once they're legally able to make them.

Do you agree with raising the age to buy tobacco products to 21? Why? 


Image via khawkins04/Flickr

drugs & alcohol, health, tough topics


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nonmember avatar FarmersWife

I feel like all these types of laws are a waste of time and money. If someone really wants to try smoking at whatever age, they will. If they know better and don't want to ever start- they won't. I don't know the right answer but I do wonder if the government needs to let go of some of these choices so that young adults can become more accountable and responsible. But then again I also don't understand the addiction side of it. I know they say smoking once can get you hooked, but personally I smoked for a few months and then just decided to stop, no struggle. I started again years later and after a month changed my mind- again no struggle. My father has done the same with smoking, quitting is just no big deal. My mother on the other hand try's like HELL and can't kick the habit. And I do not doubt her efforts. I think I'd rather smoking be either legal 18+ or illegal completely. To make 18 a 'legal adult' yet can't smoke or drink is just stupid.

Mark Cox

You can go to war but not buy a pack

nonmember avatar April

I am so sick of the nanny government. EVERYONE knows smoking is bad for you. If you still choose to do it, that's on you. Drinking alcohol can be highly addictive, can cause serious health problems and can cause you to act in ways outside of the norm. And yet there are no warnings that alcohol may be addictive. There is no movement to put pictures of livers with cirrosis (I know I spelled that one wrong) on beer bottles. No one wants to post pictures of old men with wide spread, red noses from broken blood vessels from drinking on vodka bottles. Fast food is bad for you. Why not put pictures of clogged arteries on your big mac box?

I wish the government would back out of personal lives

ollie... olliespunkma

Cant grab a cold beer either..sad

EarlG... EarlGrayHot

What?  This isn't the "Nanny Government," it's responsible adults officially forbidding the sale of a dangerous substance to minors.  That means adults caught providing these things will get in trouble as well they should.

Vegeta Vegeta

If you can get drafted and go to war at 18 you should be able to smoke and drink at 18.

nonmember avatar Dee

Then you'll also need to change the legal definition of adult. Then 18 should be too young to marry, vote, or be in the service, and to be charged as an adult. Fair is fair

daydr... daydreamer6170

earl its adults forbidding othdr adults from doing this. if u can die fighting for your country at 18 outlawing other dangerous activities is just solly

EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

American age restrictions literally baffle me. As other commenters have pointed out, you can go to war, marry,buy lottery tickets, vote, but not drink. If you are a legal adult at 18, then you can damn well make you own decisions, not leave it to a nanny state.

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