Recently, the legal age to purchase tobacco increased from 18 to 21. I was not disheartened to hear this news at first, but the more I thought about my rights as an adult, I began to question the age increase.
Ever since we were little kids, we have looked forward to making our own choices. This was an unrealistic expectation, since we were bound by our immaturity and the foresight of our parents. As the years went by, however, we crept closer and closer to independence as our experiences strengthened our judgment and the influence of our guardians began to fade. We have only just turned 18 and we have made so many critical choices regarding our future.
We have chosen where to go to school for four years, put ourselves into debt and pursue a major that will determine our careers.
If I can go into debt and vote, then why can’t I buy a pack of cigarettes?
I don’t buy cigarettes, but I still believe in the rights of others. I know that smoking is not healthy and it’s a habit I can’t afford, but that doesn’t matter because it all comes down to personal choice. Choices are what separates us from person to person and have a major part of our freedom. If I ever feel the need to buy my own vape or cigarettes, I will have to wait, just as I do to drink.
In all reality, I do not feel like an adult. Staying up late past “bedtime” seems like a trivial reward to the hardships of 18, when I am still deprived of certain experiences and choices.
I am perfectly fine with abiding by the law, but I don’t want to be completely deprived of everything that is technically “bad for me.” If that were the case, I wouldn’t be able to drink as much soda as I do. I’m sure I would be healthier, but there is an alternative to banning choices which would be an education of the consequences.
In middle school, the phrase “cigarettes are bad, cigarettes are bad” was constantly thrown at me and anti-tobacco posters reminded me to not smoke. Although it seems excessive now, I had a better understanding of why I should avoid smoking altogether and in general, I did not encounter many classmates that smoked.
It’s okay to make a choice even though others disagree. However, breaking laws or making a choice without an understanding of the risks should be heavily considered.