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Age Limits on Tobacco Products: Debating Issue


Recently there has been taken a decision by New York City Council to raise the minimum age for tobacco buying. Thus it presupposes that to purchase any tobacco product you must be at least 21 and not 18 as it was before.

Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, explained the stated decision by the personal notice that most teen-agers start smoking before age 21 as it is not forbidden. If the discussed decision comes into force teen-agers simply will not have any other alternative than to wait till 21, and there is a possibility that many of them will give up the idea.

In fact the situation is not so simple as it may seem at the first sight. The raise of minimum age to purchase cigarettes can not stop those who intend to smoke. And Britain is an example of a similar situation when the minimum age to purchase cigarettes was raised from 16 to 18. Though some positive changes were noticed the new legislation could not control the volume of smoked cigarettes.

Moreover the raise of minimum age does not exclude any other sources to get cigarettes. It is not obligatory for those under 21 to buy cigarettes themselves, they can just ask someone who has already a right to buy them. Thus the situation is quite double. From the one hand the raise of minimum age should exclude the possibility to buy cigarettes by teen-agers, but from the other hand it is difficult to predict any other possibilities to get cigarettes.