A new law passed in San Antonio on January 11, 2018, that will raise the legal purchasing age of tobacco products from eighteen to twenty-one. Tobacco products range anywhere from cigarettes to chewing tobacco. The policy will take place on October 1, 2018, so it gives ample preparation and education time to retail stores that will have to enforce the newest law. The reason for this bill is to “reduce the risk of youth becoming regular smokers and help keep tobacco out of schools” (San Antonio gov. T21). This sounds like a large deal, and arguments about tobacco use have been a relatively smaller national debate for years now, but the stance that the city of San Antonio is taking is not a universally rejected stance, in fact, it is a policy that a substantial portion of the country has already taken. The city of San Antonio states on their webpage describing this bill that they will be joining 290 cities across 19 different states, and the entire states of California, Hawaii, Oregon, New Jersey, and Maine. This is rising legislation, but is it good?
I am a libertarian on most all issues, which means that I believe in the limited role of federal government or government in general. This policy on the surface sounds like a libertarian nightmare because they also pass this bill in the name of health, and after they do that they might begin to ban fast food, or soda for health purposes, and it strikes a fear of the curtailing of individual liberty. I, however, tend to like this legislation because it is local, and there is risk of tobacco products not only harming the users but others around them (this is especially the case with cigarettes). The annual second-hand smoke death is 42,00 in the U.S. alone, and there have been multiple studies showing that 80% of smoking adults got hooked when they were teens and most teens who don’t smoke usually never will. Tobacco can also affect teens brain activity and lung function. I think that the rest of the state of Texas should follow this policy so to save many non-smokers lives, and help their young adults develop past the age of a harmful nicotine dependency. Tobacco is dangerous, and I don’t want to tell you what to do with your life, but you should wait until you’re 21.