The smoke and mirrors of raising the tobacco age limit

Recently+Senate+Bill+21+in+the+Texas+Senate+was+passed%2C+and+is+set+to+raise+the+age+of+tobacco+products+from+18+to+21%2C+but+there+is+an+exception+for+active+military+personnel.
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The smoke and mirrors of raising the tobacco age limit

Recently Senate Bill 21 in the Texas Senate was passed, and is set to raise the age of tobacco products from 18 to 21, but there is an exception for active military personnel.

Recently Senate Bill 21 in the Texas Senate was passed, and is set to raise the age of tobacco products from 18 to 21, but there is an exception for active military personnel.

Photo by: Dalton Spruce

Recently Senate Bill 21 in the Texas Senate was passed, and is set to raise the age of tobacco products from 18 to 21, but there is an exception for active military personnel.

Photo by: Dalton Spruce

Photo by: Dalton Spruce

Recently Senate Bill 21 in the Texas Senate was passed, and is set to raise the age of tobacco products from 18 to 21, but there is an exception for active military personnel.

Carter Scruggs, Commentary Editor

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Recently Senate Bill 21 in the Texas Senate was passed, and is set to raise the age of tobacco products from 18 to 21, but there is an exception for active military personnel. The bill was passed in a 20-11 Senate vote and was part of the campaign by Texas 21, a bunch of organizations that want to raise the age of tobacco products 21. A dozen states have already raised the minimum age to 21 already along with a bunch of other major cities like New York City, Chicago and Boston.

However, this almost seems pointless in a way. This  wouldn’t do anything significant to stop the current onslaught of contraband found in youth. While raising the age of tobacco products may be good in spirit, realistically, this law does nothing.

This goes for pretty much everything that is illegal, just because you raise the age to purchase something doesn’t mean that the people under the age will follow it, as long as they have someone that is of age and can buy it for them they really have no problem. Here in the high school setting the majority of people that are doing this stuff are already under the age limit so just increasing it to 21 doesn’t really do anything.

Of course these tobacco products are bad, and no one even of age should be using them as they cause a number of negative health effects on consumers such as cancer, numerous life threatening diseases, weakening immune systems, and an addiction that is very hard to overcome.

There is an argument to be made that people have a right to purchase what they want. At 18 people should be able to have more control of many of the aspects in their life, and that may include to choose what they consume, though it may not be the best for them, and I highly disagree with anyone wanting to do it, they have been on the earth for 18 years they should arguably be able to make more decisions on their own.

While sure it might do something, there are other, better ways of doing things. Maybe instead of passing legislation to raise the age, they could actually enforce the laws that already exist. If an exorbitant amount of teens seemingly have access to a bunch of tobacco products obviously there is something wrong with how the current laws are being enforced.

There have also been some concern behind this “tobacco 21” movement, and that it may actually help the tobacco companies, acting as somewhat of a Trojan horse, with some of the tobacco companies are positioning this as the only thing that needs to be done, with them pretty much saying that enough has already been done.

In the twelve states that have already raised the limit to 21, some of them have just been ignoring other anti-tobacco measures. For example there is a bill currently in Arkansas that could prevent cities, and counties from enacting some stricter regulations, and preventing stricter enforcement. In Virginia, another state with the tobacco age at 21, legislation is going to be set in effect soon. However, it lacks sufficient funding for law enforcement to penalize youth for buying tobacco.

So maybe this movement to raise the tobacco age to 21 isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, while good in substance it seems to be lacking in actual effect, as well as it might actually be helping the big tobacco companies and the industry.

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