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Texas Raises Age to Smoke

Karen Ranft

Executive Editor

In an attempt to reduce the number of smokers, Texans born after August 31, 2001 are no longer allowed to buy cigarettes, e-cigarettes or any other tobacco product until the age of 21. This modified age restriction hopes to eliminate teenage smoking, thus decreasing the number of people who develop a nicotine addiction in the first place.

According to Senator Joan Huffman, the bill aims to keep tobacco products out of public schools by adding “social distance” between high school students and people able to purchase products containing nicotine.

Despite the law’s good intentions, people continue to criticize it with opposing beliefs. Some people believe the new legislation puts unnecessary restraints on adults, while others believe the law is too lenient and should be transformed into an all around tobacco ban, regardless of age. English Teacher Tyler Newlin, a former smoker, believes that the addictive powers of nicotine are too strong and should therefore be completely removed from the market.

“Why should it matter if you’re 21 or 18,” Newlin said. “If it’s really that bad that we don’t trust 18 years olds who can make decisions about voting for their leaders and whether or not they should join the military, then we can’t trust anybody with it, can we?”

Even though nicotine has harmful side effects, many people believe imposing age limits is an infringement of adults rights.

“No adult should have age restrictions placed on them,” English Teacher, Gretchin Pearson said. “Raising the age limit doesn’t enforce or discourage underage anything, it only creates more people breaking rules. I'm not saying we shouldn't have laws, but laws do tend to create the idea of rebelling which is why most young people smoke, drink, and other things they shouldn't do in the first place.”

Despite the opposition the law faces, legislation believes this law is for the best, and therefore it is here to stay.

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