The use of tobacco has become a custom in the American lifestyle. The number of people that use and/or are addicted to nicotine is at an all time high and the number of teenagers that use it is growing even greater. So knowing these facts the question has started to arise, should the legal use age of tobacco be raised? Throughout this paper we will discuss what the pros and cons would be if the legal use age were to be raised. The pros of this happening are very upfront in most cases.
If the smoking age were raised from 18 to 19 it would greatly affect our high schools with kids getting and becoming addicted to tobacco. In high school teenagers that are 18 will offer a small fee to go get a minor tobacco after or during school. With the average age of high school seniors being 18 there is no way to catch this besides for school personnel to see it. If the age were raised to 19 years old it would lower the number of seniors that are able to go out and buy it, which will make it harder to get. Also just having access to buy them while still in high school makes the urge to buy them, grow more.
A lot of your peers in high school pick up on habits easily and if you see somebody smoking that could influence you and also influence the lower grades to try smoking and easily get them addicted. Starting to smoke at such a young age has been proven to be more addictive than starting it later in your adult years. A study done found that “more than a third of all kids who ever try smoking a cigarette become regular, daily smokers before leaving high school. ”1 Clearly the issue of high school students smoking is a big issue to tackle and it is only growing.
Another study found that “every day more than 3,500 kids under 18 try smoking for the first time, and about 1,000 other kids who have already experimented with cigarettes become new regular daily smokers. ”2 So if we were to raise the legal age this would make it harder for minors to become easily to tobacco because most people won’t be able to purchase it until after their high school years which will hopefully detour them away from it. Now on to the other side of this issue, the cons of raising the legal use age of tobacco. The cons of this are pretty big because it would affect a good amount of people.
One reason of why we shouldn’t raise the age is because you legally become an adult and it might turn into a human rights issue. People may not agree with it because doing so would be saying that clearly 18 is not old enough to make a rational decision for yourself. This also ties into the next con of raising it. At the age of 18 you are allowed to enter the military. People may start to question why is it that we can make the decision to join the military and defend our country but we’re still not able enough to decide whether or not we want to use tobacco.
Another reason why we wouldn’t want to raise the age is, if we kept the legal smoking age at 18 we could use the money generated from cigarette tax revenues and start and use it for tobacco smoking prevention programs so fewer students will start smoking. “Also if the age was kept the same we could then raise the taxes to a higher rate which would discourage people from buying so many of them without it effecting their financial situation. ” 3 Personally I believe that the smoking age should be increased to 19.
The biggest reasoning behind this decision is to help kids in high school not become addicted so early and has such a hard time quitting later on in life. For those who question why can’t you use tobacco but serve in the military I would respond, “Using tobacco is not a healthy habit, if you wanted to go into the military then you should try getting in peak shape, using tobacco would harm your physical wellness. It is a bad habit for anybody, even our soldiers. In conclusion, these are the pros and cons of what would happen if we were to raise the legal age of tobacco use.