Hey Kid – Don’t Smoke but Here’s a Tank

Raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products in the United States from 18 to 21 marks a major public health achievement for the White House. There already have been several states that have individually passed legislation to raise the tobacco-buying age to 21.


On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed into law a change that will increase the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age. You’ll certainly hear applause from proponents of the Nanny State and anti-tobacco special interest groups. Many states had already modified their existing laws to increase the age from 18 to 21. There are a few problems with this law:

  1. Similar to existing laws for alcohol purchase and use, this law reeks of hypocrisy and inconsistency. While the U.S. Government is content on sending 18 year old kids to unnecessary wars and providing them with tanks, rifles, and a life-time of potential post-traumatic symptoms, they don’t believe these same kids are mature enough to decide if they should slowly kill themselves with tobacco.
  2. The federal government is out of bounds with this move. Just like federal marijuana prohibition, the federal government is legislating matters better left to the State Governments. The federal government required a constitutional amendment to prohibit the sale of alcohol within state boundaries because, at the time, they had more respect for the U.S. Constitution than the current crop of “do-gooders.” There’s a reason we have a separation of powers. Why have state governments at all if the federal government will always trump (pun-intended) them?
  3. This law was passed within the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Every year the Congress will pass a similar bill and they load it up with things that have absolutely nothing to do with the title of the bill. Laws such as these should be properly presented to the U.S. Congress and then debated in the appropriate committee accordingly. Instead, they slipped this law into a massive spending bill. This makes it difficult for a representative to vote against the bill even if they strongly disagree with this aspect of the bill.

H.R.2500. “H.R.2500 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020”

S.1790. “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020”