Back in July, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a spending bill into law, with one of the largest takeaways being the raising of the smoking age from 18 to 21. It covers all tobacco products, including vapes, cigarettes, rolling papers and e-cigarettes.
The measure was passed to reduce the number of young adults that become addicted to nicotine, with vapes such as Juuls being seen as a factor in the increase of young smokers.
The Ohio Department of Health states that 95% of smokers start before age 21. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 3.6 million American middle and high school students said they used e-cigarettes in 2018.
The CDC also says that in 2017, 34 million people currently smoke. The report states that 480,000 people die from cigarette smoking every year.
However, I think that raising the smoking age is a bad decision that is going to cost Ohio millions of dollars in lost tax income, make the lives of customer service workers hell and take away freedoms from legal adults.
DeWine states that the government is willing to accept a $39.7 million loss in tax revenue from the measure.
That’s $39.7 million that could go to worthy causes such as the education budget, repairs on infrastructure and veteran services, just to name a few.
And I do think we should be taxing the people who are willfully and knowingly damaging their long-term health by smoking, we do the same with alcohol (and we should be doing it with marijuana, once that gets legalized).
The next point is a bit biased, as I work in customer service at Speedway. The fact that current 18 to 20-year-olds are not being grandfathered out of the age limit will be hell for me and my coworkers come October.
In addition to slowing down the process of checking a customer out, we will be forced to deal with the ire of a 20-year-old who can’t buy his Marlboro reds anymore.
I’ve already had one customer tell me that they might just storm the counter if they get denied.
Add to that the additional responsibility of looking outside and making sure no second party sales are being plotted, and it’s going to cause a lot of chaos.
And I know a typical response to my concerns would be “but it’s worth it if we get these kids off of smoking,” and that leads into my next point.
People who smoke, especially 18 to 20-year-olds, know what they’re doing. They know how much nicotine is in cigarettes, and they know that smoking will cause them long term health problems that will lead them to possible early death.
It is rammed through your head at a very young age that smoking equals death. You read informational packets and watch films that tell you about the dangers of it. I remember signing a form in elementary school where I promised I would never smoke, and I haven’t smoked since.
I would say that most people that smoke know the risks and do it for their own reasons. And if they don’t know all the information about what they’re putting in their bodies, it’s on them.
I drink a lot of energy drinks, sometimes two a day when I’m stressed. I stress eat too, and I know I shouldn’t. I know that these things might lead me to a lot of health issues later on, or maybe even in the near future.
Almost everything we put into our bodies, for example, soda, meat, alcohol, candy, energy drinks and tobacco, is slowly killing us and causing harm to our bodies.
I believe that once you’re legally an adult, you should have the right to kill yourself slowly however you please, without interference from the government. You’re already deemed fit to be sent to war and given the right to elect our leaders.