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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