The legal age for smoking in California could rise to 21. The current legal age to smoke is 18, but a California lawmaker wants to increase it to the same age as to drink. The news comes just a week after a top lawyer in Washington said he would like to see the same thing happen.
There are many current issues around smoking, and the introduction of electronic cigarettes is not helping. The use of electronic cigarettes is causing disruption to the effort to reduce the use of tobacco in the state. Ed Hernandez, a democratic senator, says that teens need to be encouraged not to even start smoking in the first place. He believes the best way to do that would be to increase the legal age to start.
Hernandez attacked the big tobacco companies for marketing to younger people. He says that the companies cannot be allowed to market a product that will end up killing them. According to the American Lung Assocation, 21,300 children start smoking within the state, and 40,000 people in the state die from tobacco related diseases each year.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson, in Washington, suggested that the nicotine-vapor products and tobacco should all be classed as the same thing. They should both be placed under the same legislation, and it is time for the minimum age to be increased. If the two individuals have their own way, it could see the smoking age raised to 21, the same as for the use of recreational marijuana and drinking.
The legal age for cigarettes does depend on the state. The majority have set the limit to 18, but there are some who have it set at 19. Some counties and cities have even increase the smoking age to the same as drinking, with Hawaii County and New York City opting for that. There is no idea yet whether it has really helped, considering the density of populations compared to the state wide legal ages.
Despite various diseases and epidemics, smoking is still the number one reason for death in the United States, especially when considering preventable death. There are more than 480,000 deaths per year due to this habit, which actually accounts for a fifth of all deaths. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention released the figures to show just how dangerous the habit really is.
There has been a lot of debate recently over the safety of nicotine products. The manufacturers state that they are safer than smoking cigarettes and cigars. While that may be the case, since there is no tobacco in the products, there are other chemicals to consider. A number of countries around the world have already banned them from being marketed and placed other legal restrictions on them due to the possible threats.
This proposed bill has led to mixed reactions between smokers and non-smokers. While a number of people welcome the age increase, many wonder whether it will really have any effect. Despite the drinking age being 21, there are still plenty of high school and college students caught with alcohol in their systems. Could raising the legal age for smoking to 21 really be that helpful?
By Alexandria Ingham