by Grace Schwenneker | Class of 2020 | Jan. 23, 2019
In December of 2019, both houses of Congress passed a bill raising the former requirement to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old. Shortly after, President Trump signed the bill, making the law effective immediately.
This was brought to light after the American Lung Association believed this age change would help save lives. However, I feel it will only make things worse. It’s extremely naive of the government to think that raising the age will stop teen smoking. It’s just not possible.
A problem with the law is that it needs to be enforced. It doesn’t even begin to consider all of the sketchy gas stations and stores that don’t ask to see an ID even though the customer is clearly not of age. As a result, minors are doing things that the government is said to be protecting them from, because why?
Workers themselves don’t care enough, don’t agree with the law themselves, or don’t ID underage teens.
Another reason this law won’t work is that teens, by nature, rebel. They aren’t scared or threatened by some rule telling them they can’t do something. Sorry, but it’s true.
Telling a teen that they can’t have something only encourages the opposite. Making this illegal just appeals to all of the rebellious teens out there. There are some teens that experience a certain kind of high or adrenaline rush that comes with disobeying their parents or the law.
So, the law change… I see the views, but are they really preventing what they want it to? Possibly, but I feel by making this law they are just telling teens to do what they do best: rebel.