retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Politico reports that as part of current Congressional negotiations on annual spending bills, it seems likely that included will be a provision that will raise the minimum age for buying tobacco products - including both cigarettes and e-cigarettes - to 21.

According to the story, "The legislation significantly raising the age cap from the current age of 18 on cigarettes and e-cigarettes is increasingly likely to be included in the year-end spending deal, the result of support from a diverse coalition of lawmakers, according to four people familiar with the matter. While the deal has not been finalized, it is more than likely to be in the package, according to sources in both parties."

The legislation is seen as bipartisan, and is supported, Politico writes, by "Democrats like Sens. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Tim Kaine of Virginia as well as Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.); on the Republican side Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) supports it as does National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah)."
KC's View:
It may surprise longtime MNB readers, who know how anti-tobacco I am, to learn that I am mildly conflicted by this legislation.

To be clear, I think it is a good thing. On some level, I'd change the minimum age to 101 if I could, or ban this poison forever and completely. If this legislation stops just a few teenagers from getting addicted, it is a net positive.

And, I think that there's no reason that the smoking age shouldn't be as high as the drinking age.

But … on so many levels we treat people who turn 18 like adults, including allowing them to fight in the armed forces and having them treated that way in the criminal justice system. I guess I wonder why we have one age of adulthood for certain things and a different age of adulthood for others.

As I say, though, I'm only mildly conflicted. I'm happy to live with this dissonance if it saves some lives.