Smoking is bad for you.
I’m pretty confident that here, in 2017, we can all accept that statement as undeniable fact. Whether you’re smoking weed (pretty bad, lungs-wise), crack (super bad, everything-wise), or cigarettes (might as well be called cancer sticks), inhaling burnt stuff into your lungs probably sin’t the healthiest thing in the world.
So when Connecticut looks into the idea of raising the legal smoking age for tobacco products, there should be unanimous support, right? Of course the legal age for smoking cigarettes should be higher! It should be raised from 18 to 150! That way, you know, people stop smoking themselves the death.
Well, you’d be surprised.
According to the New Haven Register, which reported on the proposal, this same idea was put forth last year but failed because raising the age from 18 to just 21 would cost the state $43 million in revenue.
Now, in a state where money is quite easily our biggest problem, it’s hard to turn down $43 million. But let’s just make that question a little clearer: Would Connecticut rather work harder to protect 18- to 21-year-olds from the destructive health consequences of tobacco products OR would it rather have an extra $43 million?
Last year, the answer was the money, which seems a little offensive to all the people who get sick and die because they got addicted to tobacco products when they were young and poorly informed. Hopefully this year the answer is to protect those young people, inform them of the risks, and hope fewer of them pick up tobacco products when they turn 21.
We can always find other ways to get money (legal weed, anyone?), but we can’t get back the people we lose because tobacco products killed them.