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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Q&A: Students discuss making the smoking age 21

House Bill 2313 is in the process of being passed into law. The bill would raise the legal purchasing age for tobacco products to 21. The main idea for this bill is to lower youth smoking rates. The bill says that most minors receive most of their tobacco products from people between the ages of 18 to 20. The legislature believes that raising the purchasing age will make it more difficult for minors to have access to tobacco. This may decrease addiction rates, since 90 percent of those who do smoke began at or before the age of 18, according to calculations done from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Four students, shared their thoughts on the issue. Responses are from sophomores Daniella Young and Tova Houck and senior Sawyer Sponholz.

 

 

Daniella Young

Sophomore Daniella Young, accounting major (non-smoker).

 

Q: Do you think that changing the smoking age to 21 would be effective? Why or why not?

A:  I think it would be somewhat effective, because there will probably still be people who will buy those tobacco products for underage people. You could compare it to marijuana, in the sense that there are students who smoke marijuana who are under 21.

Q: Do you support/agree or disagree with this bill?

A: I think it’s a good idea. Tobacco is an addictive substance, and it seems that if you try it early on, then you’re more likely to get addicted to it. It’s also a pretty expensive product, too. At the same time, if people do want to smoke it, and it does help them in a way, then I shouldn’t be the one to judge.

Q: When you were in high school, did many of your peers start smoking once they turned 18?

A: Not many. I do remember that there would be, right off campus, a couple people smoking.

Q: Did many of your peers start smoking before they were 18?

A:  I wouldn’t say a lot.

Q: How do you feel your own friends would react to this bill?

A:  I think they would be generally supportive of it. Personally, most of my friends don’t smoke tobacco. I don’t know if they would have a strong opinion either way.

Tova Houck

Sophomore Tova Houck, studying physical education/undecided (non-smoker).

 

Q: Do you think that changing the smoking age to 21 would be effective? Why or why not?

A:  That would help get [tobacco] out of the youth, so I think that would be good. I feel like if kids really want to do it, they’ll still find a way. But I’m sure that would help.

Q: Do you support/agree or disagree with this bill?

A: I think it would be good. I feel like by the time you’re 21, you’d be able to decide. In high school, I feel like kids would think it was cool or something, but by the time you’re 21, who cares what other people think?

Q: When you were in high school, did many of your peers start smoking once they turned 18?

A:  No.

Q: Did many of your peers start smoking before they were 18?

A: Not a lot, but there was definitely a group.

Q: How do you feel your own friends would react to this bill?

A:  They wouldn’t really care, it wouldn’t really affect them. I don’t think it’d be that big of a deal.

 

Sawyer Sponholz
Sophomore Sawyer Sponholz, business management major (smoker).

Q: Do you think that changing the smoking age to 21 would be effective? Why or why not?

A:  Well, I feel like you get into cigarettes and tobacco when you’re in high school, and so if you raise it to 21, I think it would make it harder for kids in high school to get it. However, personally, we were hanging out with kids who were older than that, too, so it’s still pretty accessible. You’re still drinking alcohol in high school. Obviously there’s not a lot of people who are over 21 in high school, but you’re still getting it from other sources. I would say it would help the people who are not willing to go the extra mile to chase it down, but I still think it’d be accessible.

Q: Do you support/agree or disagree with this bill?

A: I would have to say that it would make it harder for kids to get it, and I agree with what it’s trying to solve, but not so much the method. I think awareness would probably be better than a legal issue. Marijuana was just legalized, but kids were using it long before that. They’re going to do what they’re going to do.

Also, I think it would be annoying if you were in the military, serving your country. I almost think you should be able to drink when you’re 18. If you can go die for your country, you should be able to experience [drinking and smoking].

Q: When you were in high school, did many of your peers start smoking once they turned 18?

A:  No, I think it was more of a younger thing, maybe 16 or 17.  You would maybe not take it up as a habit, but it would be something you’re exposed to due to hanging out with people and partying.

Q: Did many of your peers start smoking before they were 18?

A: Oh yeah.

Q: How do you feel your own friends would react to this bill?

A: They probably wouldn’t like it as much. If you’re 21, it’d just be whatever. But then you’d maybe have more stress, you’d have your other younger friends asking you more to go get [tobacco] for them. If it wouldn’t affect us as much, it wouldn’t be such a big deal.

 

 

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