Two States Vote To Raise Their Smoking Age To 21
Although they just legalized marijuana, Colorado joins Utah in the fight to make 21 the allotted age to purchase cigarettes. The legal age across the U.S. to purchase and drink alcohol is 21, so why are only two states considering the age increase for tobacco? Is this a good idea?
Both states have some of the lowest smoking rates and by upping the legal age they hope to put a stop to teens who get in the habit of smoking too early by making cigarettes harder to obtain. But what stops these kids form doing it anyway? Just because they can’t physically buy these things does not at all mean they won’t still partake in them.
Colorado and Utah aren’t the first in this thinking, however. Utah’s tobacco-buying age is 19 and NYC, as well as Hawaii County, Hawaii already require buyers to be 21 as of last year.
Utah already has the nation’s lowest smoking rate, about 12 percent in 2011 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Colorado isn’t far behind, at about 18 percent in 2011, according to the CDC.
Despite the low rates, health advocates in both states testified that a higher tobacco age could depress the rates even further.
Moving it to later, obviously we can help reduce use, said Bob Doyle, head of the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance.
Studies show that in other regions raising the age limit did in fact have a positive impact:
When the legal age of smoking was raised from 16 to 18 in the U.K., there was a significant drop in the number of people who started smoking.
In one sense this might be effective. The human brain takes until your 20’s to finish growing and maturing so raising the legal age will help the bodies natural processes to flow as normal. Also, maybe the reason kids take up smoking so young is peer pressure along with the fact that they see others around them doing it, so maybe if they are out of high school when they can make the decision it will be solely up to them.
On the other hand teens will do what they want and will find ways to get cigarettes regardless of the rules. Some might do it out of defiance just because they aren’t allowed to.
What do you think- should the age limit be 21 as opposed to 18? Should it take effect all throughout the U.S.?