Lawmakers in Boston this week have been discussing a very controversial topic: increasing the legal age to obtain cigarettes to 21.
According to the New York Times, a report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies found that nearly 90 percent of long-term cigarette smokers started their habit at about 19 years old.
With this new law in place, legislatures hope to delay, or better yet annihilate, smoking early on.
This, in turn, would lead to much less severe health effects for cigarette users and quite possibly, less users overall.
Senior Nancy Zheng said, “I think the law would really make a difference in turning around the death rate as a result of smoking.”
Some, however, are more on the fence about the bill. Senior Katie Pacak said, “I think it [the law] should be [increase the age] because of maturity. But if it were to happen, I don’t think it would really make a difference. Kids get them when they’re under 18 now, they’ll get them when they’re under 21 too.”
Other students, conversely, disagreed with the change of age. Senior Nathan Ohene said, “I don’t think it’s a good idea because there’s no point because the law is already not enforced as it is. Most people who smoke start before they’re 18, so changing the law wouldn’t change anything.”
In agreement with Ohene, senior Gelila Reta said, “No because people are still going to end up smoking, and by the time they reach 18 hopefully people will have, by then, some sense of what is good and bad for them.”
The top three leading causes of death in the United States, according to Medical News Today, are heart disease, cancer, and Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease (or COPD).
All of which, are usually caused by cigarettes, tobacco, and cigarette and/or tobacco smoke. With that in mind, Boston lawmakers, following the trend of New York City and Hawaii raising the cigarette age, hope to vote on the bill in early 2016.