18 or 21?
by Dan Seagren
Posted: April 10, 2016
Age or prohibition? . .. two approaches to cancer and smoking…
While waiting for my 6th cancer -free anniversary rendezvous with my oncologist, I picked up a monthly cancer magazine. A couple of articles summoned me. Both dealt with the same subject along with many other articles on various topics.
The first dealt with the raising of the age limit from 18 to 21 to purchase cigarettes. Since by law it currently is impossible to raise the limit nationally, it is up to each State to raise the limit or remain as is. The consensus is that this is unlikely to happen with all States one way or the other.
Then (and I must trust my memory because I don't possess the magazine), the article said that addiction is much more likely for youth than adults. It stated that a survey of smokers over the age of 21 revealed that 90% began smoking before they were 18 and 96 % before the age of 21. And many took up the habit while in their early teens.
The argument continued that if the ability to legally purchase cigarettes (and even alternate smoking devices) were raised and made more difficult, it could delay the onset of youthful addiction. Another factor would be to raise the cost. The actual purchase price could vary somewhat but a high taxation would be most effective. It stated that there was a wide range between states on actual tobacco taxation ranging from a few cents to over $4.00. The higher the better has proven itself.
The author then brought out the role of the tobacco industry targeting the youth as well as its persistent advertising and its effort to influence those in positions of power to favor their industry.
There was more but then I drifted toward a story of how an European country struggled with anti smoking laws and their implementation and continuation. There were those who felt strongly that smoking should be a personal not a legal matter. Both articles were less defamatory and more objective about youthful addiction and its long term ill effects suggesting that if smoking could be arrested earlier in life, fewer smokers would be hooked with untold benefits. But it would ultimately take some compelling legal assistance to make it happen, here and abroad.
Ironic that a cancer magazine would be concerned with this form of addiction? Not at all when this addiction causes so much cancerous and other heartaches that need not occur.
Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.• E-mail the author (su.nergaesnad@brabnad*) • Author's website (personal or primary**)
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