There is a crucial debate disrupting many 18-year-olds currently in the United States who as of December 20, 2019 were told they were no longer allowed to purchase tobacco products like cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, and vaping products that contain nicotine. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised the minimum age limit to 21 to buy any of these tobacco products.
As part of a larger government funding bill, the new age limit was signed into law by President Donald Trump. The long process of this new law was led by both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Tim Kaine.
McConnell’s reasoning for this law is to end all smoking and vaping among youth in his state, Kentucky, as he is up for reelection next year for the Senate. In addition, few major tobacco companies announce they are supportive of this new law, including Juul and Altria.
Lebanon High School Senior Cade Ping believes it was not necessary to change the legal age limit because kids will always find a way to illegally purchase products.
“Kids who were 18 already before the law changed the age limit already legally obtained an addiction, changing the law will not make them stop cold turkey,” said Ping.
LHS Senior Grace Elsbury agrees with Ping in believing the law change was unnecessary.
“I feel that if your old enough to be charged as an adult and be arrested, you can make the decision to smoke or not. For the people who are under 21 and were already 18 before the law changed and were already addicted, they are still going to find a way to get tobacco products,” said Elsbury.
On the other hand, there are people who see both sides of the debate and cannot decide whether they fully agree with the new age limit or disagree with it.
Nicole Asbury, Administrative Athletic Department Assistant at LHS, understands the health risks tobacco products comes with and the reasoning behind the law change, but also sees it as it should be an 18-year-old’s responsibility to evaluate the consequences.
“I see it as if you are able to be drafted for war, you should also be allowed to make more decisions in life and have that responsibility, but as a mother, I see the damage tobacco products are doing to peoples’ health and would only want the best for my kids,” said Asbury.