Tobacco Age Raised to 21
March 11, 2020
On December 20, 2019 President Donald Trump passed a law that would raise the Tobacco age from 18 to 21. The American Lung Association has been advocating for this change due to a plethora of reasons. The big controversy here though and one of the most important reasons for the ban is the targeting of high school students when it comes to vaping. Many new companies, one of the biggest being Juul, have campaigned a lot towards the younger generations and researchers are worried this could have huge, unwanted impacts.
There are many worried, however, that this could blow up in lawmaker’s faces. With this new bill, 18-year-olds will no longer be able to acquire these products legally and many believe that this could make illegal purchasing of vape and smoke-related products skyrocket. “If anything, it’s going to create more of a black market,” says Jason Purcell at the vape shop 710 Pipe on Colfax Ave in Denver. Many like Jason are worried that it may be healthier to keep selling to 18-year-olds rather than risk black market-related deaths. According to Fox News, “At least 33 deaths across 24 states have now been linked to vape-related illnesses, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that illegal or black market THC products are largely fueling the outbreak, but stopping short of identifying these products as the main cause.” (Fox News)
The American Lung Association stated that, “virtually all (94 percent) of adult smokers had their first cigarette before turning 21, and most (81 percent) before age 18.” This is one of the biggest reasons for the ban because the ALA believes that if someone makes it to 21 without ever having smoked or vaped they are 25% more likely to not ever pick up that habit. 19 states have already enacted this law and according to the ALA, many more states are likely to join in as well. Many are still up in the air whether the reward of a healthier nation will outweigh the possible surplus in black market products being sold and consumed. Only time will tell.