An average American at the age of 18 can drive, vote, join the army, be sent to war, and be subject to criminal sanctions. However, the government insists that the person is not mature enough to smoke till the 21st birthday. There is neither a correct nor incorrect position in such a fundamental issue as the public attitude to smoking. Nevertheless, the government desires the best for its citizens’ health and insists on the latest smoking age possible, highlighting the advantages of such a policy.
If psychologically, the person is supposed to develop a correct position about tobacco smoking only by 21, does it mean that driving, getting married, or voting does not demand rational thinking? They do, but ardent supporters of the legal smoking age increase argue that cigarettes being addictive require stricter policies at the national level. That is true: marriage or joining the army were not caught causing dependency. Still, the nation faces much more grievous problems today, while tobacco addiction is a drop in the ocean. There is no doubt that the nation’s health is extremely important. Nevertheless, modern youth should be given the freedom to grow responsible for every decision they make, for freedom of choice teaches sentience.
It is generally accepted that teenagers frequently choose to be rebels and do precisely what they are not permitted. Today adolescents find enough ways to purchase cigarettes, and increasing the smoking age cannot solve this problem. Everyone knows: it is child’s play to obtain a cigarette or two if one is determined enough. What is more, there is always a chance that an older person will appear in teenage companies who will get everything they need. Thus, lawmaking cannot entirely reduce access to tobacco.
Strict bans always give rise to many ways to get around them. Therefore, this promising initiative to keep the smoking age at 21 may turn out to be ineffective. The absence of autonomy deprives the youth of feeling the burden and power of responsibility. A set of measures as banning cigarette advertising, awareness-raising campaigns, education on the harmful effects of substance abuse may be more powerful. Additionally, it will demonstrate the government’s care for its citizens.