More and more states are looking to raise the tobacco age to 21 and a few have already done so. Hawaii raised the age on both traditional tobacco and electronic cigarettes back on January 1 of this year and the reason was simple, keeping tobacco out of the hands of youth may “keep them from developing an unhealthy addiction” to nicotine.
California has just approved a bill that not only raises the smoking age to 21, but will also “treat electronic cigarettes the same as their dangerous smoke-based brethren,” and it is not sitting pretty with some, namely the pro electronic cigarette people. According the article “vaping can be an enjoyable means to get a nicotine fix” and therein lies the problem. The article states that recent declines in smoking are due to the use of electronic cigarettes,” but they fail to mention the huge increases in youth use of e-cigarettes. especially those who haven’t smoked cigarettes before. According to scientific evidence, “teenage brains are wired to get easily hooked on tobacco” which has nicotine, but so do the majority of the e-liquids used in e-cigarettes or vaporizers, with some levels much higher than traditional cigarettes.
But it doesn’t matter, because according to the article and pro e-cig proponents, “current evidence suggests the health risks are small” for e-cigs, right up there with “living and breathing.” The article also failed to mention the nine chemicals in the California Prop 65 list of carcinogens and reproductive toxins found so far in e-cigarettes.
Of course, the article also suggests that this bill tramples “on the rights of adults.” The new law would not stop any legal-aged adult from using e-cigs. It just matches the current legal age for purchasing adult beverages in the state.
The California lawmakers did make one concession since the state has such a high military presence, “legislators exempted members of the military from the boosted purchase-age rules.” It appears that in the minds of the lawmakers, if they are old enough to serve in the military, they shouldn’t be stopped from developing a life-long addiction to nicotine, like a large majority of military before them.
One article did suggest these new laws go too far in California’s attempt to “stand up to the tobacco industry.” Isn’t it about time public health comes first over tobacco industry profits? After all, will the tobacco industry be there for you when their products, whether tobacco or liquid nicotine, cause you harm?