Articles

Reasonable Smoking Ages Are Being Challenged

In Youth Rights on December 19, 2013 by edwinforyouthrights Tagged:

Typed by Edwin Bonilla

The smoking ages of 18-19 are under attack. In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has signed a bill which would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21. There’s a cultural obsession with using the age of 21 as a minimum age. This cultural obsession should be challenged at every turn. As if the bad law in New York City wasn’t bad enough, two legislators in Utah want to raise the smoking age from 19 to 21. Some legislators are considering a smoking age of 21 in New Jersey and Hawaii. The smoking age should be 18 and the minimum age for purchasing tobacco should be 18. As reported from the National Youth Rights Association and elsewhere, these examples show that the smoking ages of 18-19 have come under attack.

Some legislators are probably considering an ageist smoking age because of the stigma against smoking tobacco. Many anti-tobacco commercials use harsh criticism against tobacco. Some of those commercials feature people who have lost a leg or which feature people who can only communicate with an electronic device. The message from those commercials is that tobacco should never be used. A problem with those commercials is that they are as hard on tobacco as some of the chemicals in cigarettes. Those chemicals should be the target of harsh criticism but not tobacco. The federal government should ban certain chemicals in cigarettes which are more harmful for smokers. With that law, cigarettes would be less harmful for people who smoke them. That type of law won’t come into effect if anti-tobacco commercials keep using scare tactics. Smoking tobacco causes negative health effects but rights are not always supposed to be beneficial.

A smoking age of 21 and a tobacco purchasing age of 21 is oppression. For youth rights supporters, we don’t want a shrinking list of what young women and young men old can and can’t do. Some people who support a higher smoking age have said that the risk of addiction to nicotine is why they want a higher smoking age. However, a right to do something is not always supposed to always be beneficial. Over the last decades, the percentage of people who smoke tobacco has declined. Information about the negative health effects of smoking tobacco is well known. Young women and young men who are 18 are mature enough to know about the negative health effects of tobacco. To say otherwise would be ageism as well. Keeping the tobacco purchasing age at 18-19 is as important as keeping the smoking age also at 18-19. A movement to raise the smoking age would be an age discriminatory movement.

If a legislator who represents you is supporting a bill which would raise the smoking age, then you should send a letter by mail. This is a good method to fight those oppressive bills.

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One Response to “Reasonable Smoking Ages Are Being Challenged”

  1. On the NYRA Facebook page, I found a link to an article which probably links the company Philips Morris to the age discriminatory bills in many states about the smoking age. That article certainly links Philips Morris to ageism, though. http://www.proyouthpages.com/pmorris.html

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