Smoking age should rise to 21, says cancer specialist

By rocksmokinmachine · Jan 8, 2008 · Updated Jan 8, 2008 · ·
  1. rocksmokinmachine
    A Dundee cancer specialist is calling for the age at which people can buy cigarettes to be raised to 21.

    Dr Jayant Vaidya, from Ninewells Hospital and the University of Dundee, believes that after that age far fewer people want to start smoking.
    In October, selling tobacco to under 18s was made illegal, but Dr Vaidya believes the law should be tougher.
    He also wants a ban on selling cigarettes from vending machines and an increased tax on packets.

    'Very addictive'

    Dr Vaidya told the BBC Scotland news website: "Most people start smoking before they are 21, and after they are 21 they are wise enough to realise that it's not in their interest to smoke.
    "It is a very addictive drug, it contains 4,000 poisons and it has been shown very clearly that when you start young, you start causing all the damage in your body at a young age as well, and it's very difficult to stop."
    Dr Vaidya said that in Goa in India, where he was born, raising the smoking age to 21 has led to a considerable drop in the number of tobacco-related diseases.
    He has also praised the ban on smoking in public places in Scotland, for making the air cleaner and improving health.
    He said raising the age at which youngsters can buy cigarettes is the next step. "Children, before they are proper grown-ups at 21, have the right to be protected from the onslaught of the tobacco industry," he said.

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  1. Pondlife
    The minimum age for tobacco sales in the UK was raised from 16 to 18 just a few months ago in October 2007. I guess that we should at least wait and see what effect that has before planning the next move.

    Anyway, I would suspect that the age increase would have been debated in the run up to the new legislation wouldn't it? That would have been the best time for Dr. Vaidya to have made his case for an increase to 21.
  2. Shampoo
    Tobacco legislation has become increasingly stringent in the past 10 years, with some major states (including NY and California) banning smoking in public restaurants, bars, hotels, bowling alleys...etc. Illinois has followed suite and as of the new year, smoking in all these places is illegal in Chicago as well, making the three largest U.S. cities 'smoke-free'. Part of me feels that this is a step in the direction of reevaluating our substance use policies with a focus on health, while the other desperately tries to explain that this is merely a step in the direction of regulating all substances, regardless of the nature of their psychoactivity. It seems that the logic used by alcohol reform could be aptly applied here. Logically, the age at which one can make choices regarding self-representation is the age at which they may vote for that representation to take office. Therefore, an single age at which one can make these choices seems a far more logical outcome to a deliberation on personal choice. Either make the voting age older along with smoking, or bring down the drinking age to comply with the responsibilities of self-representation.
  3. Bajeda
    ^^^^ I think it is even more important that one learn how to consume alcohol responsibility before they are allowed to drive, but yeah, the age restrictions do seem somewhat arbitrary at this time in the US.
  4. Purest
    There is honestly no point in raising the smoking age to 21 as heightening it to 18 really hasn't solved anything, its still just as easy to get a pack of fags underage from the majority of shops. And when the kiddies can't get a pack they just get someone older to buy them for them, saying that they'll punish the people that buy them for the kids doesnt solve anything either, the laws are pretty much unenforceable.
  5. Dark_Man_Of_Peace
    What difference would it make to change the age limit? As Purest stated above the law is already unenforceable. Kids that are underage would still pay someone of age to purchase tabacco. The only way that this restriction would work is if a cop lived in every house everywhere. SWIM has been smoking since he was 12 and has never been busted for it, including by his parents. Case and point it will not make a damn bit of difference whether the laws on tabacco are changed.
  6. BEEKSc1
    Yea I just think it would design more "crime" more people buying others smokes, who are "underage"
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