March 11, 2016
(ANTIMEDIA) At the age of 18, young American adults are granted the legal right to sign a contract, purchase a firearm, marry, enlist in the military, sit on a jury, and vote. These rights bear a fresh batch of life-changing choices to youth that the law views them capable of making.
California lawmakers, on the other hand, appear to perceive 18-year-olds capable of no such thing. A list of new anti-tobacco bills was passed by the state Assembly on Thursday, among it, a bill that pushes the legal age to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21 throughout California. The motion passed with a 46 to 26 vote. Governor Jerry Brown has yet to sign off on them.
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In addition to raising the smoking age, the new bills seek to put further restrictions on e-cigarettes and vaporizers. If these new laws are put into effect, California will become the second state after Hawaii to raise the smoking age. However, a handful of cities ─ San Francisco and New York being the largest ─ have adopted the same new regulation.
As stated earlier, 18-year-olds in America are granted a set of rights, as they are perceived to be ─ or at least capable of being ─ responsible adults worthy of making very serious and/or life-changing decisions. So let’s ask the obvious question here:
How is one seen as competent and responsible enough to join the ranks of the military to risk their lives for the agenda of corrupt power elites, sign a legal contract that could bind them to harmful terms and conditions, choose the person they want to spend the rest of their life with, have a voice in what laws are passed, and who our political leaders are, and sit on a jury with the fate of a peer in the hands of their judgement, but somehow not seen as sufficiently “adult” enough to buy a pack of cigarettes or enjoy a cold beer?
Having gained the support of nearly all of the Democratic party, the bill was largely opposed by Republican lawmakers.
“I don’t smoke. I don’t encourage my children to,” said Assemblyman Donald Wagner, R-Irvine. “But they’re adults, and it’s our job to treat our citizens as adults, not to nanny them.”
Those in support of the bill argue that raising the smoking age to 21 will significantly reduce smoking, as an approximate 95% of smokers pick up the habit before age 21. In addition, an analysis published in March 2015 suggests raising the smoking age to 21 could possibly reduce smoking by about 12% within a decade, along with saving around 273,000 lives from lung cancer and premature deaths.
While good intentions may be found underneath these bills, it does not change the fact that they directly stifle the freedom of the American adult. One should not have a say in a presidential election if they cannot be seen as capable of choosing whether or not to smoke cigarettes. One should not have the option to carry an assault rifle and risk their life for government policy if one is not considered responsible enough to have a drink.
It would appear such basic principles are much more difficult to grasp than they seem.
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