Raising the Legal Age to Purchase Nicotine Is Seen as a Positive and Negative Change

Written by Debra Murray

The U.S Food and Drug Administration has officially raised the age to purchase tobacco products including nicotine vape products such as JUUL and NJOY. This law had already been in place in several states but is now enforced at the national level. According to American Lung Association, sixteen states -including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont and Washington- all raised their minimum age to 21. 

“I think that I disagree personally with raising the age to 21 because you can go serve in the military, and I feel that every law should be 18 or 21 consistently. Also I think it would make it a little harder for students to get ahold of these vapes,” said PRP teacher Melanie Findley. 

People have very different views on increasing the legal age, but most people agree this is a noticeable issue among teens. Teens are an obvious target of nicotine companies, which is why flavored vapes with little-to-no smell and modern, sleek design were released.

“I feel like increasing the age would have a positive effect on the health of many teenagers because it would increase the odds that the companies selling products containing nicotine will actually card people,” said Senior Brianna Barley. 

Eighteen out of fifty states have already increased the legal age to 21. For example, California already had this law in effect, so only 11% of teens in California use vape products. In Kentucky where the law was not in place, 25% of all teens use vape products. 

“The bill will have an overall positive effect considering many other states have already passed the bill as well as many other states, and they all had a reduction in health problems in teenagers,” said Barley. 

The amount of teens becoming addicted is a more pressing issue now than ever, but is this the most important issue for our government to focus on? Many teens say no. 

“While I think this is a very important problem, I do not think our government should be focused on it. We have many other drug addiction problems that cause more deaths and our state is in financial need, so those should be the main focus,” said Barley.

Our government currently has many issues that they have to tackle at this time, but some people feel that increasing the minimum age should not be number one on the agenda.

“It should not be a focus point for our government right now. There are millions of people without homes, ICE is killing women and children at the border, police brutality at the state level is getting very out of hand, felons still can’t vote, etc,” said Senior Austin Rivers. “Vaping has not killed enough people in order for it to be an immediate issue.”

Sources: https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/tobacco/cessation-and-prevention/tobacco-21-laws.html


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