21 to Buy Tobacco?

Skye, Staff Writer

One of the many anti-vaping/anti-tobacco signs within the HS

Over the years the legal age to buy tobacco has changed many times. In 1992 the federal government required a state minimum age of at least 18 years old to purchase tobacco products. This requirement has recently gone up to 21 on December 20, 2019. I believe this change improves today’s society.

For example, many seniors over 18 are able to buy tobacco and nicotine products to underclassmen or friends who have not reached that age. With the age now being 21 kids who are underage do not have a lot of people if anyone to purchase these products for them.

Although this law has not been in place long enough to really determine if it is effective from a first-hand point of view I can see how it will be harder for underage students to find ways to get their hands on these products.

According to Tobacco21.org from 2017 to 2018 use among middle school students has increased 50% with one in 20 kids reporting they have recently vaped. With the use of vapes increasing among even middle school students raising the age it again becomes harder for these students to feed the developing addiction.

This website also stated that research shows chemicals found in e-cigarettes and the flavors used in them are harmful and can result in heart and lung and be poisonous among other health consequences. A brain does not fully develop until around the age of 25; therefore, students who are underage can not process these consequences. Now that the age to purchase nicotine is 21 the people who are buying e-cigarettes and tobacco products are able to more deeply understand what they are doing to their bodies.

Lastly, I interviewed Mrs. Sabol and she also strongly agrees with this law recently being put into place. She stated that at this age students often act on impulse and things are not thought out because of their brains still being young. She believes that with this law being put into place it will keep exposure to harmful things away from kids until they can their brains are able to process it and they will be less likely to engage in behaviors that are harmful to them.

Even though she believes this law will have a good impact on teens they may still be able to find ways to get these items if they are determined.

Mrs. Sabol also agreed that with this law the numbers of severe cases will decrease. After the seminars that were recently attended by the high school students, she believes that seeing the images of vapes blowing up and kids in hospital beds due to vaping it will open up more eyes to what can really happen to someone from these chemicals. Finally, she trusts that with this law put into place vendors will also be more cautious of who they are selling these products to.

All in all, with the law newly changing from 18 to 21 it will be more effective at the end of the day. Considering at the age of 21 your brain is closer to being fully developed, consumers of these products will be able to process the consequences of putting these chemicals into their bodies. This law will also make it harder for underage teens to find ways to possess tobacco or e-cigarettes. It may not completely eliminate underage students getting these products, but it does impose a major hurdle considering they can no longer go to a senior friend of theirs and ask them to make these purchases for them.