The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changed the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21 on December 20, in an attempt to prevent underage smoking and vaping.
“I think them changing the law will curb the vaping for a little bit, and it shows that people are actually trying to work on ways to stop underage vaping, but I really think in order to stop to tobacco use, there has to be an effort to reduce the addiction,” said Jim Swetter, the principal.
At the age of 18, one legally becomes an adult and can vote, die for their country, get a credit card, get married, and buy a rifle. However, at 18-20, that same individual can not buy tobacco. Changing the age increases the probability of those underage obtaining the products illegally. Underage kids are still going to find other ways to get ahold of tobacco through various ways, such as parents, of age friends, vape shops not carding, and stealing.
“I don’t think changing the law is going to affect how I get and how other people I know are going to get our products, me and all my friends and most people I know are still going to be able to get ahold of juuls and puffs, just like we have been able to get alcohol and that’s always been 21 to buy it,” said a student who wishes to remain anonymous.
In 1984, Congress changed the legal minimum drinking age to 21 and it went into effect in 1985. People who were older than 18, when the law went into effect were still legally able to purchase alcohol, because of the grandfather clause. Last December, when the FDA changed the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21, they did not grandfather in the adults that used to be of age. The FDA strictly made it clear that anyone wanting to legally purchase tobacco must be 21, regardless if they used to be of age.
“I think if you were born before the new year you should be grandfathered in and should be able to buy tobacco because with any other law they’ve grandfathered them in and I think it’s dumb you can go to war for your country but can’t buy tobacco,” said Brad Johnson, a senior
The change comes after a months-long process led by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Tim Kaine. McConnell, who is up for reelection next year, made it clear he wanted to pass a bipartisan bill trying to prevent smoking and vaping among youth.