Bill Would Make Vaping and Tobacco Use Illegal for Adults up to Age 19

Reuters illustration.

When you turn 18 you’re generally considered an adult under the law, meaning you can do all sorts of stuff from voting to serving in the military. But if legislation backed by state Rep. Pamela Anderson, a Democrat from Fargo, becomes law you wouldn’t be able to purchase tobacco or even vaping products.

Here are the pertinent changes to the law, you can read the full bill below:

It’s telling that the legislation trikes out the word “minor” and replaces it with a specific age reference.

That’s because the law would make it illegal for someone who is not a minor – who is, in fact, an adult – to purchase a product.

It should be offensive to us that lawmakers would propose this sort of paternalistic nonsense.

Besides, it isn’t 1952 any more. Americans are inundated with anti-tobacco messaging. There is nobody in this country unaware of the links between tobacco use and things like cancer and heart disease.

At this point, if adults choose to smoke anyway, that’s just a choice they’re making. And if we aren’t allowed to make those choices for ourselves, then we’re not really adults under the law.

And to lump vaping into this? Something that, by all the data available to us now, seems to be a much healthier alternative to smoking?

That seems counterproductive to the goals of public health.

I’d be interested in knowing how law enforcement would feel about enforcing this nonsense, anyway. Enforcing the current ban on minors smoking is tough enough, now they’re expected to enforce that ban a year into adulthood too?

Does anyone really think that’s a good use of taxpayer resources?

I don’t like smoking. I don’t like to be around it. I urge my loved ones to refrain from tobacco use. But I will never favor legislation mandating decisions on tobacco for adults.

Here’s the full bill:

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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