I was at the mall recently hitting the Trader Joe’s and Gymboree that’s there (you can never have enough Flax & Oats Maple Oatmeal or white socks for the kids). And while I left to go to my car in the parking lot, I was struck with a need to parent other people’s children. Well, they weren’t really children, they were teenagers. But they were doing something no teenager should do, they were smoking. Now, some might not find the vision of the young smoking as that offensive, but it is something that just hurts my soul.
The standard legal age for purchasing cigarettes is 18, and I always thought that this was too young. It seems that 21 would be far more appropriate. Why can you ruin your body with cigarettes at age 18 but you have to wait three years to pollute your body with alcohol. And I am not alone in thinking that 18-year-olds are too young to take up smoking, New York City is on the brink of raising the tobacco-purchasing age from 18 to 21. It wasn’t even a close vote, according to the Associated Press, the city council voted overwhelmingly to make it a law.
In addition the city voted to raise the minimum per pack price for cigarettes to to $10.50-a-pack, making it not just inconvenient for young adults to buy cigarettes but also harder for teens to afford them.
“We know that tobacco dependence can begin very soon after a young person first tries smoking, so it’s critical that we stop young people from smoking before they ever start,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. And this isn’t to say that young adults won’t pick up the habit, but it will just be more difficult for them to do so. The American Lung Association notes that “85 percent started when they were 21 or younger,” and that, “people who begin smoking at an early age are more likely to develop a severe addiction to nicotine than those who start at a later age.” And I really do think that any hurtles we can put between our children and cigarettes are welcome hurtles indeed.
Did you or do you smoke? What age did you start?
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