Opinion: Problems with changing the tobacco age


Graphic by Eva McCord '21.

Julia Ambrozy '20

With the recent vaping epidemic on the rise, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to move the legal age of purchasing nicotine products from 18 to 21, which took effect at the start of the new year, 2020.
The change in age hopes to crack down on teen and high school usage of products containing nicotine. Personally, I think this decision has the potential to make a positive change in what they are trying to achieve, however, I think it won’t succeed due to the many loopholes when it comes to obtaining such substances.
For example, teenage use of fake ID’s is a growing issue in society today, due to the fact that teens are reaching the age of abusing these substances, and products. Having the age increased by just a couple years now could have the use of these fake ID’s go up, which can cause serious problems due to the crimes that come along with having a fake ID. If you get caught using a fake ID, some can get lucky and just get it taken, and told to leave, but if you get caught by the wrong people, you can face some serious problems with the police and most likely have to go to court, which could potentially ruin one’s record.
Something else that could cause this new law to be a problem for some people are the people who are legal of age, but under 21 that use nicotine products to cut down on their cigarette usage. It is not uncommon to be between the ages of 18 to 20 with a nicotine addiction, and for the ones who used nicotine products like JUULS and other e-cigarettes to help quit from smoking real cigarettes, are now going to face difficulties to get the products they need. In that case, it will basically just cause more people to try and obtain more products illegally.
I do see where the administration is coming from wanting to ban these products from younger teens because of all the cases that have been coming out about teens being hospitalized because of their lungs. Being surrounded by a lot of my older friends who at the time were legal to use such products, it is concerning that I do not want the same thing to happen to them and I want them to be safe, it makes me agree somewhat with what is going on with the new rule.
Overall, I can see both sides of the new law and why people support or they don’t. However, I don’t think it is a long term solution to this growing problem and I believe more action needs to be taken by the government if they want a change.