Tobacco age should be lowered to 18 again

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Tobacco age should be lowered to 18 again

E-cigarettes come in a large variety of different forms and flavors.

E-cigarettes come in a large variety of different forms and flavors.

Britannica Image Quest

E-cigarettes come in a large variety of different forms and flavors.

Britannica Image Quest

Britannica Image Quest

E-cigarettes come in a large variety of different forms and flavors.

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The spike of use of nicotine and tobacco in teens over the past few years has garnered the attention of the government. They are now trying to counteract that by raising the federal minimum age for tobacco sales from 18 to 21 years old. But honestly, how many people is that going to stop?

E-cigs have grown increasingly popular, and they seem to be mainly catching the attention of high school students, and even some middle school-aged kids. According to truthinitiative.org, in 2011, a mere 1.5% of high schoolers had used an e-cig in the last month. Fast forward to 2019, and 27.5% had used one in the last month. While the jump in those numbers is somewhat concerning, changing the law isn’t going to stop kids from attempting to receive these products.

In the past couple of months, the media has been fixated on individuals checked into the hospitals with lung infections and injuries that are related to the use of ‘vaping products.’ But upon reading these articles more closely, you’ll find that most of these hospitalizations and deaths are actually more attributed to the use of “THC” vaping cartridges. I felt the need to put quotes because barely any carts, if any, actually contain real THC in them. Nicotine and e-cigarette companies are getting horrible reputations because kids across the country are spending $20 on a dab cart from a sketchy man in an alley who tells them that the cart is from a real dispensary. These kids think they’re getting a great deal, but wonder why the cart isn’t getting them high and why their lungs are now filled with nitrates and pesticides.

The black market of nicotine products is just as real, too. There are thousands of fraudulent products produced and sold every day to kids over the internet. Kids are buying these because they can’t get the real thing anywhere anymore, and they’re itching for their fix. This new law is forcing kids across the country to buy products that have the potential to be so much more harmful to their health. The government claims that they still don’t know what are in Juul pods, but what about the fake ones that children are sneaking around to buy over eBay?

Kids are smart when it comes to illicit activities. They find ways around things. “I honestly don’t think that this law is going to change or help anything. People find ways around laws, and this new one is going to do nothing more than just put kids in danger,” Lauren Berger, senior, said.

Not only did the government raise the federal age, but they are also trying to ban e-cigarettes completely. People that are now deep in a nicotine addiction will be forced to switch to legal products, such as cigarettes. Good ol’ cancer-causing cigarettes that manage to kill around 1,300 people a day. This possible banning is also going to affect adult smokers who have been trying to quit by switching to something such as a Juul. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of adult smokers has decreased from 2005 to 2018 by 7.2%, and much of that must be attributed to the alternative e-cigarette option.

Along with this new law, people who have already been legally able to buy tobacco products for a while now are no longer able to. Many teenagers over the age of 18 have been hooked on these products for a while, but with the age raise, this group of kids is placed into the same boat as everyone else.

At 18, you can own a gun, you can vote, you can get married, but you can’t use nicotine if you so wish to do that. “I can’t believe that at 18 years old you can serve your country, but you can’t buy tobacco products,” Denny Tylets, senior, said.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it a million more times, even the simple idea to keep the tobacco age at 21 does nothing more than put kids across the country in more danger.