Fuddy-duddy gen­er­a­tion erodes rights of New York adults

Democrats high on their takeover of the State Leg­is­la­ture want to raise the age to buy to­bacco and e-cig­a­rettes from 18 to 21

The Buffalo News - - CITY&REGION -

If young adults, typ­i­cally the de­mo­graphic with the low­est Elec­tion Day turnout, needed any more in­cen­tive to vote, the lat­est as­sault on their rights by the fud­dy­duddy gen­er­a­tions should do it.

Not con­tent with stop­ping 18-, 19-, or 20-year-olds about to ship off to war from hav­ing a beer, now they don’t even want them to have a smoke to calm their nerves. (I sup­pose there would be an ex­cep­tion if you’re about to be ex­e­cuted.)

Prov­ing that ab­so­lute power cor­rupts ab­so­lutely, Democrats high on their takeover of both houses of the State Leg­is­la­ture now want to raise the age to buy to­bacco prod­ucts and e-cig­a­rettes from 18 – the age of ma­jor­ity, when you’re sup­posed to be a co-equal adult with all the at­ten­dant rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties – to 21. The As­sem­bly al­ready has passed the bill and the Se­nate is ex­pected to fol­low suit.

That means if you’re caught in that nether-age, you’ll still be stuck with all of the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties while your rights are slowly be­ing eroded.

One doesn’t have to be a fan of to­bacco use to rec­og­nize the in­jus­tice. In fact, de­spite its long-stand­ing ef­forts to get the state to ad­e­quately fund pro­grams to “cur­tail the car­nage caused by to­bacco use,” the New York Pub­lic In­ter­est Re­search Group summed up the prin­ci­ple at stake in sin­gling out one seg­ment of the adult pop­u­la­tion.

“NYPIRG has long been an ad­vo­cate for strong pro-health, science-based restric­tions on to­bacco use. How­ever, we have long had the po­si­tion that dis­crim­i­na­tion against adults should be op­posed,” the or­ga­ni­za­tion told a joint leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee last month.

Con­trast­ing this at­tempt with the hike in the drink­ing age decades ago, NYPIRG noted that move was man­dated by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s threat to slash high­way fund­ing if states did not ca­pit­u­late. It also pointed to a study pub­lished last year in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Pub­lic Health that found New York City’s law in­creas­ing the to­bacco-pur­chas­ing age from 18 to 21 did not cut youth to­bacco use “any more rapidly than de­clines ob­served in com­par­i­son sites.”

That should hardly be sur­pris­ing. After all, ac­cord­ing to the De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices, “Nearly 90 per­cent of adult smok­ers be­gan smok­ing be­fore age 18.”

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