by: Jessica Buettner
Most kids nowadays either drink alcoholic beverages and/or smoke cigarettes before they turn 21 years old; this may be the cause of issues to their bodies both mentally and physically. Many teens get the same lectures of the health hazards from parents, teachers and other authority figures, but they still begin to smoke and drink at a young age.
In the United States, it is enforced that alcohol can be purchased at 21 years of age and they can also purchase cigarettes at 18 years of age. A new study from the journal, Tobacco Control, indicates that changing the age to purchase cigarettes to 21 could change the number of young people who choose to smoke. According to Yahoo! Health, states like Hawaii and New York have already put the law into effect. These states found that the number of young people who bought cigarettes were declined.
Brian King, chairman of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s office on Smoking and Health, stated that the longer the delay of purchasing the cigarettes, the better the chances that young people don’t become regular smokers, and the greater the likelihood that they can easily quit once they start.
The number of adolescents who choose to start smoking is at a steady incline. According to the Institute of Medicine, more than 3,000 adolescents each day choose to have their first cigarette. If these trends continue to be the way they are, then more than 5.6 million young people alive today are more likely to die prematurely due to a smoking-related illness.
Some people may be asking why the age of purchasing cigarettes should be changed to 21 since being 18 means that young people can have a sense of independence. People need to remind themselves why the age to purchase alcohol is 21 years of age: it is to protect the health of the young people and helping them avoid bad decisions that they’ll regret for years to come.
There seems to be various options out there for people who still want to continue smoking, but they don’t want to go through the health hazards and the expensive prices. E-cigarettes have grown in popularity amongst people of all ages. Some people find that it helps cut back on the habit of smoking regular cigarettes while others find that it makes the habit even worse for them to handle.
A study conducted by the University of Leuven indicated that six months of ‘vaping’ led to 21% of smokers to quit regular cigarettes as well as 23% of smokers cutting back regular cigarettes by half. These studies truly show that e-cigarettes do have their benefits; however, there are some studies that indicate that the usage of e-cigarettes could be not that beneficial to a person’s cigarette habits.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that there are more contents of carcinogen formaldehyde found in e-cigarettes, potentially increasing the lifetime cancer risk by 5-15%. Unfortunately, since e-cigarettes are fairly new technology, there are not enough studies to safely say what the long term effects are. Despite lack of research, some smokers choose to switch to vaping instead of smoking regular cigarettes because they are under the impression that they are automatically safe.
Overall, the usage of cigarettes have truly changed during the past few decades as the laws have tried to decrease the amount of people who use them. From not being able to smoke cigarettes indoors to possibly changing the age in which one is able to purchase cigarettes, society has become more conscious of the terrible long term health effects of cigarettes. It’s not only up to the older generation to help the younger generation try to break their habits, but it is also up to the young generation themselves to make the decisions that they know will have long term benefits.