Smoking is not only a bad habit but a deadly one as well. Since smoking can kill and because a lot of teenagers start smoking at 18, many of them actually get caught smoking way younger than this, the legal smoking age may be increased from 18 to 21 in California if the State Senator Ed Hernandez has his way. According to Bustle on Jan. 31, although the legal age is 18 in California still, four other states including Utah, New Jersey, Alabama, and Alaska have already increased the legal smoking age to 19. However, a top lawyer in Washington says he would like to see the same thing happen there. He actually just said this one week before California started trying to get the bill to pass to allow the age to legally smoke increase to 21. Right now, the remaining states are still at 18. Maybe eventually everyone will follow suit and all states will do the same thing. After all, the legal age to drink is 21 years old so maybe the legal age to smoke should be the same thing.
The bill that lawmakers are trying to get to pass in California to increase the legal smoking age there says, “The Legislature finds and declares that reducing and eventually eliminating the illegal purchase and consumption of tobacco products by any person under 21 years of age is critical to ensuring the long-term health of our state’s citizens. Accordingly, California must fully comply with federal regulations, particularly the “Synar Amendment,” that restrict tobacco sales to minors and require states to vigorously enforce their laws prohibiting the sale and distribution of tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age.” Also, the American Lung Association, the California Medical Association, and the American Cancer Society are all backing this bill.
Public State reports that 40,000 people just in California alone die every year from tobacco related products. Not only this, but 21,300 children start smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco related products early in life. Although many people are for this bill to pass, others are not even sure it will work. After all, many teenagers are caught drinking before they turn 21 so if the age is raised, who is to say that teens won’t just hide their smoking still? They could even have an older young adult who is 21 years old buy cigarettes for them just so they can still smoke.
The Centers for Disease Control also released their statistics on how many people die each year in the country and these numbers may be staggering but with as many people who smoke, they are not surprising at all. 480,000 people die each year from smoking and other tobacco related products.
According to Attorney General Bob Ferfuson, tobacco products and electronic cigarettes should be classified as the same thing since they do the same thing. He also thinks the age to legally smoke should be raised in the state and all other states.
Although the legal smoking age has already been increased in four states so far, no one knows if it is helping yet. However, this is one good step to discourage young people to quit if they already smoke and to never start in the first place.