Smoking is Dumb; 18-Year-Olds Have Right to Be Dumb
LA Times: Raising smoking age to 21 is wrong and impractical
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2013 1:54 PM CDT
Camel cigarettes.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

(Newser) – Smoking may be stupid and bad for your health, but New York Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to outlaw smoking for 18- to 20-year-olds infringes upon grown adults' rights to do stupid and unhealthy things to their own bodies, says the LA Times editorial board. "True, the legal drinking age is 21 in every state," it writes. "But that is justified by the fact that an 18-year-old's dumb decision to drink may harm others. A decision to smoke harms only the smoker."

Besides that, says the paper, the proposal is entirely impractical: 90% of smokers take up the habit before age 18—when they have to obtain cigarettes illegally anyway—and any 18-year-old in the Bronx can just take a 20-minute bus ride to Yonkers to buy a pack. Sure, it says, the government should increase anti-smoking education and advertising, and ban where people can smoke, but "adults should retain the right to make most decisions that affect only themselves, even very bad decisions." Click for the full post.

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Apr 25, 2013 9:19 PM CDT
poor old bloomerberg is a danger to himself and others and should be in a rubber room getting the help that he is in need of....
Apr 25, 2013 6:34 PM CDT
I am not a cigarette smoker and I hate cigarette smoke but I wouldn't want to take that right away from them as I wouldn't want my rights taken away from me either. Don't like cigarettes? Don't smoke them.
Apr 25, 2013 12:41 PM CDT
The premise is wrong because smoking harms others. No smoker can possibly always keep her smoke to herself every time she smokes because tobacco products are designed to be too addictive. Smoking is inseparably bound up with a culture that lies about the harm of second hand smoke and demands the entitlement to force others to breathe it; look at the arguments against banning smoke from restaurants and the foot dragging against laws to stop it. Because whether by private insurance or single payer insurance, everybody has to pay something extra whenever people choose to make themselves sick, it is impossible to do conspicuously unhealthy things without it costing everybody else. Finally, smoking is not freedom of choice because the physical distress of withdraw destroys the freedom to quit for most smokers. Because smokers do not give a damn about my bodily freedom to decide whether or not I want to inhale tobacco smoke I don't give a damn about the surplus rights smokers get to violate my body with their disgusting filth and I don't care that all that tobacco money usurped the status of a legal drug because the laws that permit it are too corrupt to count as something to be respected as right. So, smokers who want unlimited privileges to do such things as to abuse children in cars, I'll make a deal with you. You don't smoke in the air I have to breathe and I won't smear feces in the food you have to eat.