Today: May 29, 2024

Increasing the age of those allowed to purchase cigarettes

Aaron Berkowitz – General Assignment Reporter

As of end the of October this year, New York City Council voted to make it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase any tobacco products in the state. The city council also voted to have the minimum price for a carton of cigarettes to be $10.50 in hopes of helping reduce the amount of lives lost to tobacco related illnesses.

Kaleigh Michaud, 22, senior liberal studies major, said she doesn’t feel like the age restrictions made on cigarettes will affect the amount of people who smoke.

“I was 14 almost 15 when I started smoking,” said Michaud. “I used to party with older kids and began smoking them socially. Once you get in the habit of smoking when you’re partying or drinking, it can get to the point where it never stops.”

“If they want to smoke they are going to try and find a way to get their hands on the cigarettes,”
said Alex DeJesus, 21, liberal studies major. “I think at an early age kids should be shown the consequences of smoking. I don’t find any of the programs that are out right now to be effective enough because of how many people I know that smoke.”

DeJesus and Michaud both agreed that younger kids do not need to be scared into not using tobacco products, but educate them more on the dangers of it so they can make educated decisions on what they want to do with their lives.


Marian Evans, MD., an adjunct public health professor at SCSU, said she thinks the new law could work in lowering the use of tobacco products by people under 21 and hopes that it will also make them think about doing it before they actually do.

“You don’t want to be addicted to anything in our society,” said Evans. “The use of tobacco increases the risks of you getting any cancer, not just lung, by 10 times.”

Evans said she thinks the Connecticut will eventually end up adopting the law as well because there is tobacco grown here. She also said people who are addicted to cigarettes generally try to quit the habit multiple times before doing it successfully.

“A smoker will try to quit seven times before they actually succeed,” said Evans. “If you start smoking when you are young and get addicted, you will really try to quit seven times. Regardless if you ever admit it’s an addiction or not.”

Michaud said the cost increase on tobacco products might have more of an effect than the new age restrictions.

“I’ve been smoking for more than seven years,” said Michaud. “I quit three times and one time was for four months, but I’ve come back to it. I smoke a pack a day. When you sit down and realize how much you spend on the habit, it’s just a lot of money: $50 a week, $200 a month, is a lot per year.”

DeJesus said he sees the new law as a step in the right direction and even if it doesn’t show immediate progress, at least it shows the government trying to make the people’s health more of a priority

“Just stop. It’s never too late to stop,” said Evans. “I think it’s counter intelligent when I see young people who are trying to get an education, do something that we know is bad for us and continue to do it.”

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