Ann Arbor Raises Tobacco Age to 21, Should Grand Rapids? [Poll]
On Thursday, the Ann Arbor City Council voted to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under age 21. Ann Arbor is the first city in Michigan to raise the tobacco age to 21.
Should Grand Rapids raise the tobacco age to 21?
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death. With Thursday's vote, Ann Arbor joins California, Hawaii and at least 170 localities in 13 states that have raised the tobacco age to 21 including New York City, Chicago, Boston and Cleveland.
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says increasing the tobacco age to 21 will reduce tobacco use among youth and young adults. They also say that 95 percent of adult smokers began smoking before they turned 21 and the higher age limit will help keep tobacco out of high schools, where younger teens often obtain tobacco products from older students.
I think we can all agree that tobacco isn't healthy, but who should be allowed to choose which healthy and unhealthy activities a legal adult may engage in?
Being a legal adult should give an individual the right to make choices for themselves. This isn't a new argument and this isn't the only unhealthy activity that adults choose to participate in. A short list would include: alcohol, smoking, fast food, soft drinks and not wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle. At some point you have to allow people to make their own decisions, even if they are poor ones.
Further education on the dangers associated with smoking and other risky behaviors should be encouraged to ensure that all are able to make an educated decision, but taking that decision out of the hands of adults does nothing to help us grow as a society.