Should the smoking age be raised to 21? | The Tylt
Should the smoking age be raised to 21?
Most smokers start smoking cigarette before they're 19. Raising the minimum age to 21 would make it that much harder for someone to get their hands on cigarettes and start smoking.
That study concluded that raising the minimum age to 21 would help delay when young adults and adolescents start using tobacco. Almost 90 percent of adult daily smokers say they began smoking before they were 19, according to the study. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Researchers said 21 as a minimum age would be particularly effective because young people who are unable to buy tobacco are most likely to get the products from friends and peers. It is less likely a 21-year-old would be in the same social circles as high school or middle school students, and thus able to provide cigarettes, according to the report.
Critics say raising the age to buy cigarettes would essentially just be a feel-good law. Smoking rates are going down by themselves.
Rates of teen smoking have been plummeting in California; they were cut in half between 2000 and 2012 with no statutory assistance. If lawmakers really believe new laws are needed to protect young people from tobacco smoke, they should criminalize adult smoking in all spaces, including private homes and vehicles, when children are present (as the U.S. surgeon general recommended in 1986). Raising tobacco taxes also has proven effective in reducing smoking among all ages. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Raising the legal age for buying tobacco, on the other hand, risks interfering with the trend toward less smoking just as the ill-conceived teen driving law interrupted steady declines in teenage traffic deaths. Wisdom requires knowing when to leave young people alone, and smoking is another area where lawmakers should butt out.