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United States News

Oregon Raises the Smoking Age (fastcompany.com) 410

From a report: Some 95 percent of lifetime smokers pick up the habit before their 21st birthday, so Oregon lawmakers yesterday passed a law making it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase cigarettes in the hopes of nipping the bad habit in the bud. "By the age of 25, this addiction is cemented in the brain and it becomes very difficult -- almost impossible -- to quit," State Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, told KGW. Oregon is not the first state to do this, and it probably won't be the last. No one under 21 can (lawfully) buy cigarettes in Hawaii, California, Washington, D.C., and Guam to date. It also passed in New Jersey, but noted beachcomber Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the bill -- although it could still become law there. According to the American Cancer Society, at least 250 localities across the country have passed similar local ordinances.
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Oregon Raises the Smoking Age

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  • by garryknight ( 1190179 ) <garryknightNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday July 08, 2017 @05:42AM (#54768359)

    It's not a "bad habit," it's a drug addiction.

  • Age of Consent (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mlookaba ( 2802163 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @06:05AM (#54768417)

    States that require someone be 21 years of age to consent to engaging in risky smoking behavior will also ban those under 21 from enlisting in the military, right?

    Young people do lots of risky things. Let's be consistent.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by geekmux ( 1040042 )

      States that require someone be 21 years of age to consent to engaging in risky smoking behavior will also ban those under 21 from enlisting in the military, right?

      Young people do lots of risky things. Let's be consistent.

      Our wold is full of risk regardless of age, so look at the chances of harm before assuming.

      One of the most deadly activities you likely do every day is step into a car. With a generation addicted to their smartphones (behind the wheel), this risk increases even more. What do we raise the driving age to?

      Smoking kills over 400,000 Americans every year, far more than any wartime activity. FUCK raising the age, tobacco should be illegal. One would think we would want to actually take steps to prevent our #1

    • Re:Age of Consent (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @08:40AM (#54768729) Homepage

      One thing is risky because it's dangerous to serve in the military to defend the geopolitical interests of your country, while the other thing is dangerous because it's a drug that carries significant health risks.

      I don't see why you think you're being smart by appealing to treat these things the same way.

      Vehicles are also very dangerous, but using vehicles provides a massive net benefit to society that cigarettes do not. It doesn't take a genius to understand why in actual fact, legally and socially, we view and legislate these activities differently.

    • No, because the willingness of young people to do stupid crap and be easily led is useful to a country as military drones.

      More logically, it should suggest that the voting age should be raised to 21 however. I'm sure we'll have the Clintons support on that one.

    • by nnet ( 20306 )
      Oregon is a state, with the ability to enact state laws. Take your issue of military service age up with your federal representative. I'm sure they'll be happy to listen to your comparison of state law vs. federal law.
  • "By the age of 25, this addiction is cemented in the brain and it becomes very difficult -- almost impossible -- to quit," State Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, told KGW.

    Absolute rubbish. Plenty of people, myself included, have managed to stop smoking after the age of 25. Is being an idiot now a pre-requisite for election to high office in the US?

    • And you are among the exception. Actually I would argue that you were never permenately addicted to begin with. While yes you did develop a short term chemical dependacy you never developed or at least changed the nerve dependacy that makes change harder to impossible to quit.

      Some people just can't quit a chemical dependacy,. Alcohol, coffee, nicotine.

      Me I knew what I would be like with an alcohol drpendancy and so never let it develop while young, so now older I can have just one drink.. I only drank u

      • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

        40 years a smoker (and I enjoyed it), quit cold turkey 4 years ago - that's not a "short-term chemical dependency". I did some self-reflection, and decided it was time to stop.

        Some can do it, others need help. If you *want* to give up, you will.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        And you are among the exception. Actually I would argue that you were never permenately addicted to begin with. While yes you did develop a short term chemical dependacy you never developed or at least changed the nerve dependacy that makes change harder to impossible to quit.

        My dad and two of my uncles quit all after smoking 20+ years. In fact that older people quit is quite easily shown with statistics [ssb.no], it's in Norwegian but daily smokers by age group, since the statistics goes over more than 10 years you can easily compare:

        16-24 in 2003: 25% -> 25-34 in 2013: 12%*
        25-34 in 2003: 26% -> 35-44 in 2013: 15%
        35-44 in 2003: 31% -> 45-54 in 2013: 19%
        45-54 in 2003: 32% -> 55-64 in 2013: 20%
        55-64 in 2003: 25% -> 65-74 in 2013: 14%

        * Should have been 15-24 to fit the patte

        • I wonder if some of the drop-off in the percentage of smokers in each demographic is due to the increased mortality of the habit.?.?
          • Very few die from smoking related issues before age 40. The 35-44 year-old group went from 31% of that age population smoking, to 19%. There certainly was not a die off of 12% of that age group, or even anything close to it, smoking-related or otherwise.

      • by skam240 ( 789197 )

        Let's bring some real data in on this

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p... [nih.gov]

        The short; the average age of someone quitting smoking for the 2011-2012 period (the most recent period in the study) was 39.5 years old. In other words, the parent you're replying to is correct, a 25 year old threshold does not make sense.

    • Unfortunately it also turns out that if you're going to learn statistics you must do it before you're 23.

    • by nnet ( 20306 )
      "my friends been snortin' coke for 15 years 'n he aint hooked on it!" - Richard Pryor
  • Hypocrisy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, 2017 @06:21AM (#54768445)

    You need to be 21 to smoke a cigarette, but at 18 you can go into the army and kill people

    • So, give the people cigarettes at 18 so they can die of lung cancer instead of having to shoot them? Works for me.

      That's enough snark for now. Seriously though, to me a person is an adult capable of making decisions or not. Set and age at which a person can make their own choices and stick with it.

      Marry at 18? Sure.
      Vote at 18? OK.
      Buy a house, sign a contract, get a job at 18? Absolutely.
      Join the military at 18? Works for me.
      Set a different age for things like buying alcohol, tobacco, or a handgun? Th

  • Yeah this would be about as effective as limiting alcohol in the same way. And it's not like the over-18 restriction is particularly effective anyway, most smokers that I know started way before that, probably by 16 already, so this would change pretty much nothing. Good job.

    • by skam240 ( 789197 )

      Now I'm not necessarily advocating for this law but the big idea here is to get cigarettes out of the reach of school age kids. Everyone I know who smoked in high school got seniors to buy them smokes and they were therefore much easier to get than the 21 and over alcohol.

      Don't get me wrong, we certainly did get our hands on alcohol when we were underage but getting enough to maintain a habbit would have been much harder to do.

  • The age limit should be raised by 1 year, each year, effectively phasing out the industry.

  • by zifn4b ( 1040588 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @07:57AM (#54768601)
    This doesn't solve the root cause problem. The root cause problem is some people have addictive personality. Addictive personality in my estimation arises from an inability to cope with the anxieties of life and reality. Therefore the person turns to self medication. If it's not cigarettes, it'll be something else. If we addressed the root problem, the demand for these self medication "fixes" would reduce naturally.
  • I don't think we should ban tobacco. I think we should ban smoking anything where someone else has to breathe it. While we're at it, let's ban chemicals that anyone else can smell [hyperlogos.org]. Why is it acceptable to make chemical attacks on people you walk past on the street? No one else should be able to smell you unless they are right up in your business.

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @08:33AM (#54768697)

    The attitude towards smoking has changed so much in my lifetime. When I was in high school (80-85), the area around the door to the student parking lot was the semi-official smoking area. Students could openly smoke without any problems. The teacher lounges were a haze of smoke. The only real restrictions on smoking were restaurants had to offer a "non-smoking" section, bars could be all smoking. Private offices were often OK for smoking, even the downtown office building I worked in circa 1993 still had some accommodation for smoking (smoking lounge, departments could set their own smoking policy -- most banned it totally, but two allowed it, and a couple more allowed it after hours).

    Now, it's totally different. No smoking in any restaurant or bar, most buildings ban smoking with a large distance of their doors, pretty much any public place has no smoking at all. Even the parks have banned "tobacco use" (which IMHO is kind of ridiculous, but OK, less litter and the picnic table zone is smoke free). Unless you want to smoke in your own home (most rentals are no-smoking) or in your own car, you're pretty much out luck for smoking.

    So I'm kind of curious how many new smokers there are given how inconvenient it is to smoke, especially if you're under 21 or a teenager. Plus there are all the vaping options, which seem like they would be way more attractive (good flavors, little odor so you can get away with it in places you could never smoke). And let's not forget the cost, with all the new taxes, a pack of cigarettes is like $8.

    I would think that the rate of adoption for cigarettes would be low enough at this point that new enforcement measures would mostly be for show or a waste of effort. I also wonder if some of the new laws aren't an effort by "stop smoking" organizations looking for fresh PR to keep funding going when it already seems like they could just close shop and declare victory.

    • There are lots of new smokers out there however they are not doing tobacco cigarettes, cigars or pipes.
      They are now into hookahs, e-cigarettes, and there are a bunch of new ones that go directly into cannabis.
    • Seen more and more early 20's smoking, especially girls. Weird as I've seen smoking decline quite a bit in the last 15 years.

  • by thesandtiger ( 819476 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @09:28AM (#54768889)

    I started smoking at the age of 12 (and quit at 32), and I never, ever, not even once, had a problem getting cigarettes when I was underage, and I hardly think it's any more difficult for underage people to do the same nowadays.

    I'd say put all age restrictions on things - literally everything that is currently legal but with an age restriction - at the same age as the normal age of military service.

    If you really want to discourage smoking, ban it from anywhere but a private residence and tax the hell out of it. Make the fine for smoking anywhere but in a private residence double per offense, starting at $50, and if the person smoking is underage, make the parent or legal guardian responsible for the fine. Make the tax for tobacco something like $25 for a pack of cigarettes. Make the fines for selling age restricted products to an underaged person draconian - first offense $5000, second offense you lose your license to sell ANYTHING age restricted, period. Tobacco isn't a necessity, it isn't an essential - tax it as the (stupid, harmful) luxury it is.

    Mind you, I don't agree with the notion of doing the above, and I'm not on an anti-smoking crusade, but if the powers that be were actually serious about the public health elements of smoking they'd do more than this weak-tea pandering bullshit. They don't actually want to do anything to really break the back of big tobacco because of $$$, so they just do idiotic things like raise the age for legal purchase which plays well to some people, but is basically ignored.

    • Make the tax for tobacco something like $25 for a pack of cigarettes.

      I'm not a fan of that idea. I remember my dad talking about how after he quit he noticed how other people were dealing with their habit. Specifically he noted a lady at a filling station that bought a pack of cigarettes and then started counting pennies to buy enough gas to get home. You see, getting her nic-fix was more important to her than making sure she had enough gas to get home. You can raise the tax but then you have a lot of people still buying them because this is an addiction, not a luxury.

      I

  • If you want to curb smoking, just raise the age to 91 instead of 21.

  • And, although it is illegal to throw burning materials out of a car window, many roadside grass fires will be started by cigarettes. Not that I've ever seen anyone get cited for this. I've seen people flick ashes out onto a following state patrol car.

    I suppose the biggest problem is the intent part of the law. The ashes just get blown out of the car through the open window. So, make it an offense to smoke in a vehicle with any windows open. I guarantee that, in addition to reducing the fire problem, this i

  • Where in he legal system does it allow full citizens who are considered fully independent adults to be discriminated against because of their age?

    • I'm not sure what the technicals are behind it all but age limits are enshrined right in the US Constitution. We put them on holding office.

      • Founders recognized that people needed some years under their belts to get maturity before they should be running the country.

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