AM 760 KFMB - Talk Radio Station - San Diego, CA - No Big Deal: You Must Now Be 21 to Buy Cigarettes in CA

No Big Deal: You Must Now Be 21 to Buy Cigarettes in CA

Updated: May 5, 2016 4:31 AM

I’ll come out and say it right out of the gate: it’s no big deal what Governor Jerry Brown signed into law this week.

The age at which you must be to purchase tobacco in California rises from 18 years old to 21, effective June 9. This applies to all avenues including smoking, dipping, chewing, and vaping. This will not apply to military personnel though, which I find interesting.

Supporters of the law said it aims to deter adolescents from the harmful, sometimes fatal effects of nicotine addiction. The Institute of Medicine reports that 90 percent of daily smokers began using tobacco before turning 19. Lawmakers and health advocates applauded the move and expect other states to follow California’s lead. (San Diego Union Tribune)

I get it. We want children and relatively young adults to not smoke at all. Not all people in this category will follow this wisdom. We all understand that smoking is a leading cause of death across the board. It can create cancer and other horrible conditions. Again, we get that.

Is this going to stop kids and young adults from obtaining man-made or electronic cigarettes? No. Is this going to prevent them from dipping and chewing tobacco to impress their friends while playing sports? No.

Peer pressure will continue to dominate a large part of our society for years, decades, and centuries to come.

They say “well-behaved (people) rarely make history.” That very well may be true. There will be those who want to break the rules just because they can. When the law goes into effect, anyone who sells or gives tobacco to people under age 21 could be found guilty of a misdemeanor crime. Is this significant? Yes and no, but I think there are a couple bigger issues on which we need to focus.

How is it that we are raising the age in purchasing tobacco of any kind and yet marijuana, which provides significantly less harmful side effects than smoking cigarettes, is legal in only four states for recreational use? This makes absolutely zero sense to me.

I’m not a smoker. Full disclosure – I’ve never smoked a cigarette, joint, or cigar in my entire life. I’ve never tried hookah. I’ve never done any sort of hard drug in my life. I’m perfectly happy with that and keeping it that way. I did take a couple hits off a bong in college, but most of us experiment in college, one way or another.

Marijuana is legalized either for medicinal or recreational use in nearly half the United States. This is not a debate on legalizing weed at all. It’s merely proving a point where tobacco should probably be taxed at a higher rate rather than increasing the minimum age to purchase it.

My second point on why the significance of this new law raises my eyebrows is as follows: how is it we’re raising the age of purchasing cigarettes, dipping tobacco, etc., and yet we keep the age of signing up for the military at 18.

I will be forever grateful to those who honorably suit up and defend this great country of ours. However, I’m baffled by the idea that we’re allowing the federal government give 18-, 19-, and 20-year-old kids guns and the combat training, and we’re limiting them from making an adult decision to smoke a pack of cigarettes? It’s a very weird dichotomy, in my humble opinion.

Compounding insult with injury, the Food and Drug Administration is now starting to regulate electronic cigarettes.

(The FDA) imposed far-reaching regulations on e-cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products, requiring manufacturers to disclose their ingredients and submit their products for government approval, and barring retailers from selling the items to anyone under 18 years old.

Federal health officials billed the new rules as critical to taming a “Wild West” atmosphere involving a multi-billion-dollar industry whose products have surged in popularity in recent years, especially among young people.

They say there is little control over — or even basic information about — the manufacturing, distribution and marketing of the products, and that action is needed to protect young people from nicotine addictions and to inform adults about what exactly they are inhaling. (Washington Post)

One quick note: I’m no scientist. I don’t conduct health studies and sociological experiments, but I’m pretty sure that electronic cigarettes – the ones that produce vapor – don’t have any sort of nicotine in them. Most people who vape are trying to quit smoking cigarettes, aren’t they?

Take a look at some of the flavors for vaping purposes: churros and ice cream, creme de menthe, butterscotch, Mama’s Cookies, root beer, and – get this – Carolina and Kentucky tobacco! Are we trying to eat more (in a sense) and getting rid of our nicotine addiction at the same time? That seems to be the idea here.

So, what if people want to feed their addictions with other flavors and no tobacco? It’s certainly a viable option.

Now, say this with me: there’s too much government control! I understand we need government regulation on a few things. Smaller government is a great idea in principle, but with the way this country is going, everything will be regulated in some way, shape or form.

Since when do adults need to be regulated? I get the idea of trying to protect children, but Charles Darwin should be appreciated more and more on a daily basis. Survival of the fittest is the fastest-growing theme in the 21st century among adults.

We all should be smart enough to make our own decisions in life. If we make mistakes, we do our best to learn and move on from those mistakes or we continue to live in a comfort zone. That’s okay. I’m not trying to tell how people need to live their lives. The government needs to stop getting their hands on everything that we enjoy. It’s a power grab. It’s a money grab. It’s a enjoyment-killing grab.

You would think, at some point, the government control bubble will burst, but today and days ahead are living proof that it’s going nowhere anytime soon. Let human beings make their own choices, and let parents help guide their children toward making the right choices in life. Adults will smoke cigarettes to help cope with stress and anything else that they deem necessary.

In the end, let’s be compassionate with the choices people make until they start to directly affect us or someone else with whom we’re close.

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