By: Megan LeBoff
Photo credits: Pexels
The smoking age in U.S officially changes to 21 years old
On December 19, 2019, President Trump signed a bill to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. The new law prohibits the vending of cigarettes and e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21, and went into effect at the start of 2020. The new law comes at a time when the government faces pressure to reduce the rate of smoking among teenagers.
The raise of smoking age had bipartisan help in the Senate, and was co-written by Democrats Brian Schatz and Dick Durbin, and Republicans Mitt Romney and Todd Young, CNN reported. These senators have been campaigning for the limitation for quite a while, lastly making it happen by connecting it to a series of must-pass bills to avoid an administration shutdown.
While raising the legal age limit of tobacco use from 18 to 21 is a significant accomplishment for the White House, 19 states and a few urban communities had already passed legislation to raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21. As said by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, these states include Washington, Arkansas, Virginia, California, Utah, Illinois, Connecticut, Vermont, Delaware, Texas, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, New York, and Oregon.
Surprisingly, the new law has received a great deal of backing from cigarette and e-cigarette companies. Those in the cigarette and e-cigarette enterprises see it as a way to reduce the public’s anger about their campaigning to the younger audience.
As indicated by certain doubters of the move, raising the age to 21 makes no sense when 18-year-olds can serve in the military, go into legal contracts, and get married. Additionally, raising the legal smoking age may increase the illegal vending of cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
On the other hand, raising the smoking age from 18 to 21 will most likely save lives. A 2015 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) discovered raising the smoking age to 21 could help prevent approximately 223,000 premature deaths among Americans born between 2000 and 2019.
The new law is very controversial, but whether it will actually do any good, time will tell.