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Kansas City, Kansas law officials have officially passed ordinances raising the age to buy tobacco products to 21. This decision has not been a popular one among many young smokers and has raised the question, is it worth it?

The ordinance passed in Kansas City in November has spread throughout the state of Missouri into cities such as Independence as late as Jan. 10. These ordinances also include vaping materials and e-cigarettes which are popular among younger people.

These ordinances were proposed and put into effect to prevent the use of tobacco products among young people. However, this does not mean that people will not smoke at a young age. A lot of things are illegal for young people and they still find ways to get them and use it before they are of legal age. People start smoking at 14 and find ways to possess the cigarettes.

A lot of the popular products being sold today do not contain nicotine and are also smoke free, only containing vapor to inhale rather than the toxic chemicals in a cigarette. Yet they are still being outlawed to anyone under the age of 21 as well.  

People breaking the law because of habit is something else to think about. Someone who is already addicted by the age of 19 is still going to want to smoke, so he or she will still try to find tobacco products. This sets people up to break the law just to try to cater to a long standing addiction.

And if this ordinance has a grandfather clause saying that you can still smoke as an 18 year old, however you can not buy cigarettes until you are 21, then what are the actual consequences? If we see no consequence with breaking this ordinance and possessing tobacco under the age of 21, why wouldn’t someone break it?

When we turn 18, we are supposedly responsible adults that are old enough to vote and fight in the army. We are supposed to have our lives somewhat figured out If we are supposed to be an adult at the age of 18, why take away our right to buy tobacco? If you are a responsible adult trusted with fighting for the country and voting for the leader of the free world, you should be trusted to make a choice regarding what you want to do with your body. If that choice is to smoke and use tobacco products, so be it. You should have the right to buy them.

The next issue we see is the damage done to the retailer. Tobacco products are some of the most profitable items for select retailers and raising the age limit needed to buy these products could greatly affect business. The younger person will then take his or her business elsewhere and travel to a city that will sell tobacco products, damaging the businesses and the economy of that city.

We need to be able to have our rights at the age of 18. These ordinances seem to have been put together at the last second with too many ways to get around it and no great benefits. The cities should expect to see an economy downfall with the absence of tobacco sales among young people, as well as the downfall of many businesses such as hookah bars that are designed to appeal to the young people.

This was a mistake and something that needs to be changed back to where it was. There was no problem with an 18 year old buying cigarettes, there is no reason to change it.


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