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Editorials, News, Politics

You Must Be 21 to Smoke

English: New York Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg.

As your fairly elected mayor, I know what’s best for all of you. I’m Michael R. Bloomberg, and I approve this message. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New York City made news last year when it banned the sale of sugary drinks (soda, pop, Coke, whatever they call it in your part of the country) in containers larger than 16 ounces in restaurants (and other establishments) with ultimate goal of healthier New York City residents. The bill was quarterbacked (sorry, it’s football season) by NYC mayor, Michael Bloomberg.

Setting aside the fact that this bill was pointless because most restaurants offer free refills, this bill was damaging in other ways. Mainly the deprivation of freedom. Depriving New York citizens and tourists of choice. The choice to have a small pop or a Big Gulp. I understand the motivation behind that bill. Pop is unbelievably unhealthy. It’s loaded with sugar and other chemicals and there’s absolutely no nutritional benefit to drinking a glass of Coke (unless there’s some smooth Southern Comfort in it). That being said, however, removing choice from our citizens is taking freedom away from them. It’s our right to choose whether or not to ingest a substance we already know is bad for us. That’s what freedom of choice is. And as long as we the people are making informed decisions the government needs to butt out of our decision-making process.

The bill was ultimately struck down by the New York State Supreme Court, so all of this is irrelevant. Until now.

Ever heard of the Tobacco 21 bill? Neither had I, until yesterday. Evidently New York City is at it again. The Tobacco 21 bill, which raises the minimum age requirement for purchasing tobacco products to 21, was just passed this week and is expected to be signed by mayor Michael Bloomberg, who endorsed the bill, some time in the next 30 days.

Before I delve into my opinion of this bill, I’d first like to say that I loathe smoking. Setting aside the fact that is linked to lung cancer and emphysema, I find it to be a terribly disgusting habit. It stinks. It makes those who smoke stink. And holy shit does it give you some horrendous breath. Kissing someone who has just smoked a cigarette is one of the nastiest things I’ve ever experienced. That is, of course, all just my opinion. I’m sure other people don’t mind it, or even like it. That is their right and I will not judge anyone based on that particular opinion. It’s a matter of taste.

Don’t get me started on chewing tobacco, though. Just, ew.

Despite my disdain for tobacco products, I’m upset about this law. When you turn 18 you’re deemed an adult by society. You’re no longer bound to your parents rules and you’re now held solely accountable for your actions, right or wrong. You can be trusted to defend our freedom in one of our fine military branches. You can escape the umbrella of your parents’ oppressive rules (I don’t need no stinkin’ curfew). You can vote for the representatives who will run our country (hmmmm, which one sucks less than the other?). You can purchase a home or play the lottery. You can piss your money away in a casino. You can get married. You are ultimately entrusted with all of the responsibilities of a United States citizen except drinking responsibly and, if you’re in New York City, deciding whether or not you want to smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco.

I won’t go into my thoughts on the legal drinking age here in the US (it sucks) because off-topic, but this law is just a waste of New York City taxpayer money. The moneys paid to the politicians who drafted and voted for this bill was wasted. The moneys spent to enforce this law (if it’s not struck down) will be wasted. Damn near everyone who smokes started before they were 18. The health hazards of smoking are no secret. There’s a frickin’ warning on every box of cigarettes, for crying out loud. This law is not going to deter people from smoking or chewing. It’s just not. Despite all of the restrictions that have been slapped down on the tobacco industry, it continues to thrive. You’ve done all you can do, government. You’ve provided fair warning. You’ve educated us. We know the risks. If we decide to use these products anyway, the consequences are ours. Get out of our lives.

My hope is that the New York State Supreme Court strikes this idiotic law down, a well. The government is supposed to be for and by the people, not to run the people.

Link: NYC votes to raise tobacco-purchase age to 21 | National News – WLWT Home.

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Sometimes funny. Sometimes serious. Always genuine.


50 thoughts on “You Must Be 21 to Smoke

  1. & I thought it was California that had such idiotic laws all the time. Damn.


    Posted by CB | November 2, 2013, 11:22 am
  2. I agree, as a smoker it really pisses me off that they can do this. With that being said, pass the Mento’s.


    Posted by merbear74 | November 2, 2013, 11:45 am
  3. If at 18 a person is old enough to risk their life and health in the military, they’re old enough to risk their life and health in every activity that’s legal for someone who’s 22.
    As for Big Gulp ban, I thought it was stupid and pointless: you want to make people drink less carbonated sugary water – tax it.


    Posted by List of X | November 2, 2013, 12:08 pm
  4. I agree with you in principal… that being said… I don’t think anybody should be allowed to drink, smoke, drive, have sex, or have an opinion until they are at least 30… or is that just my daughters I am talking about???


    Posted by pouringmyartout | November 2, 2013, 1:09 pm
  5. Are you kidding me? I didn’t even know about this one!


    Posted by C.K. Hope | November 2, 2013, 1:19 pm
  6. I also abhor smoking, but I defend one’s right to do so.

    People should be thanking the Tobacco Industry for being able to smoke at all, as it is such a high revenue generator in our government’s coffers (pun intended). NY would be fiscally dumb not to overturn this law. Regarding our freedoms, people better wake up.


    Posted by 1jaded1 | November 2, 2013, 2:37 pm
  7. This stupidity doesn’t surprise me at all. I, too, abhor tobacco use (though it’s great as a poultice for bee stings and bruises!), but I will defend people’s right to do stupid stuff to themselves like smoke or drink or such like.

    As for the age of majority, it should be the same for everything and the same in every state. I had to go from my ‘adult’ Kansas driver license back to a ‘minor’ driver license when I moved to Colorado when I was 20. It was ridiculous! And if kids of 18 are old enough to kill and die for their country, they’re old enough to do everything else, too.


    Posted by Tammy J Rizzo | November 2, 2013, 5:05 pm
  8. I’ve never understood the odd choice of 21 for a threshold either if 18 is the standard. But 21 isn’t just the legal drinking age, it’s also the casino gambling age (at least around these parts). You can play Bingo at 18, but don’t touch that slot machine for another three years, young man!

    Don’t get me started on people who want to ban or regulate soda. I love my fucking soda… excuse me, SODEH!!!!


    Posted by evilsquirrel13 | November 2, 2013, 10:34 pm
  9. I could rant poetic on all you wrote – but in general support. Odd we need a license to smoke, drink, drive, boat, pet-own, and fly airplanes, but any douche with a dick can sire a child and in most states get away with forgetting about anything resembling paternal responsibility.

    Rant complete.

    You’re a good dad.


    Posted by BrainRants | November 2, 2013, 11:37 pm
  10. Yet 18 year olds can sign up for the armed forces during their lunch period…yea this make so much sense.


    Posted by Life With The Top Down | November 3, 2013, 6:23 am
  11. I think the 21 law is probably pointless, since we’re only cutting off people under 21 who aren’t smart enough to figure out how to get around the law like they do the alcohol one. But while I have nothing against smokers personally, I do have something against them smoking in my personal space. I would support a bill to ban smoking in all eating establishments for the general public (except bars where it’s obvious you are going to drink and smoke.) But even that doesn’t take care of it because you can step outside and get hit with a concentration of smoke from the people forced to go outside.

    I realize this is a “freedom” issue, but the thing is my drinking a coke or even a beer does not affect someone else. It affects my teeth, my liver, etc. And if I drink too many beers and drive I can hurt someone. But smoking always hurts other people if they are nearby. Secondhand smoke is highly dangerous, especially to people, like my daughter and me, who are asthmatic and allergic. When I walked out of a store the other day, a group of people were smoking and launched my daughter into an asthma attack. Considering an asthma attack has the potential to KILL someone, I think this has passed the whole “freedom” stage. Your freedoms should not encroach on someone else’s freedom, like, to breathe.


    Posted by aliceatwonderland | November 3, 2013, 1:50 pm
  12. Reblogged this on Parrots, Prose, and Poetry and commented:
    Control issues, anyone?


    Posted by Annie Chace | November 4, 2013, 10:55 am
  13. In the UK, it used to be that you had to be 16 to buy cigarettes, but I think it has now been upped to 18, in an attempt to try to stop so many people from starting in the first place. What’s actually needed is better education to people who could start to smoke and also research into why people do smoke. That’s going to be far more useful in the long run to get those who do smoke to quit, or to make sure people don’t start in the first place.


    Posted by faithhopechocolate | November 11, 2013, 10:43 am
    • I think it’s pretty much common knowledge that smoking is bad for you, people just don’t care. Most of them (in my experience) would tell you they’re going to die some day anyhow, so what’s the point?


      Posted by Twindaddy | November 11, 2013, 11:03 am
      • Actually, I don’t think it’s really sunk in to a number of people that it is bad for them. They just see their parents and grandparents and the extended family and friends all doing it and so join in. Peer pressure has a lot to answer for.


        Posted by faithhopechocolate | November 11, 2013, 11:27 am
        • Well, yeah. I obviously can’t speak for things in your part of the world, but over here most everyone is educated about the inherent health hazards. There’s a warning on every pack of cigarettes and there’s anti-smoking commercials frequently aired during children’s programming. Plus, there’s the D.A.R.E program, which has been around at least since I was a child because I went through it.


          Posted by Twindaddy | November 11, 2013, 11:49 am
          • We have the “smoking kills” and “smoking can reduce your fertility” type messages on packs of cigs and baccy. We also have anti-smoking ads on the TV – some of which are spectacularly disgusting, such as the one where the cigarette being smoked grows a cancerous tumour whilst the chap smokes it. I’ve not heard of D.A.R.E., and I don’t think there are any school-related campaigns running here – at least, not that I know of, anyway.


            Posted by faithhopechocolate | November 11, 2013, 12:03 pm
          • D.A.R.E. is a program over here that educates children about drugs, mostly the illegal kind. It also delves into alcohol and tobacco.


            Posted by Twindaddy | November 11, 2013, 12:04 pm
          • Thought it must be. I honestly don’t know if there is anything like that here in the UK, but if there isn’t, there ought to be. However, given that the current government seem to think it’s all the poor people who have no money who’ve caused the finances of the country to disappear down the toilet, and not all those wealthy bankers screwing things over and then giving their big bonuses to their wives so that they don’t have to pay tax on them, it’s probably quite unlikely that anything like that will get off the ground in the near future.


            Posted by faithhopechocolate | November 11, 2013, 12:13 pm
          • Funny, we have politicians over here who think the same thing…


            Posted by Twindaddy | November 11, 2013, 12:15 pm
          • This shuttle we’re going to be sending to the moon (as discussed elsewhere). How big is it, and will there be room to include these eejit politicians, do you think?


            Posted by faithhopechocolate | November 11, 2013, 3:47 pm
          • We’ll make them fit.


            Posted by Twindaddy | November 11, 2013, 3:53 pm
          • True. No need for them to be too comfortable, after all!


            Posted by faithhopechocolate | November 11, 2013, 3:54 pm
          • Exactly!


            Posted by Twindaddy | November 11, 2013, 3:55 pm

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