Should legal age for smoking be 21?

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Laudiesdad69
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Should legal age for smoking be 21?

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:18 pm

The county that I live in just raised the legal age for buying tobacco and related products like vaporizers to 21. Most every place in the state that I live in has the legal age for these products at age 18.
This is going to be interesting to see how they enforce this. There is a chain of mini marts where I live that requires I'd for any such sales, regardless of how "old" a person looks. I think this will help to keep kids that are still in high school from buying tobacco. A generation from now, there will be less people using tobacco thanks to education programs.

I am a respiratory therapist, and I used to teach smoking cessation classes. It is interesting, albeit disheartening, to see so many people (many of them on oxygen) still smoke after being educated and treated for tobacco abuse. As we all know, tobacco is highly addictive. And, many people just can't successfully quit smoking. I wonder if raising the age will keep young people from starting to use tobacco or not. I hope so, but I wonder if most people are for this or if they think it is government over-reach?

Any opinions?

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: Should legal age for smoking be 21?

Post by Andrew Fryer » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:26 pm

Dunno. I've never smoked either tobacco or cannabis, and the attached stigmas vary depending on which direction they are coming from. But I'm interested in some of your syntax:
Laudiesdad69 wrote:...smoke after being educated and treated for tobacco abuse. As we all know, tobacco is highly addictive
In spite of your observation that tobacco is highly addictive, its victims (shall we call them?) are "abusers", and education is all they get to combat an addiction? Did you say that carefully, or is that a loosely expressed typical view?
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Laudiesdad69
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Re: Should legal age for smoking be 21?

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:40 pm

Andrew Fryer wrote:Dunno. I've never smoked either tobacco or cannabis, and the attached stigmas vary depending on which direction they are coming from. But I'm interested in some of your syntax:
Laudiesdad69 wrote:...smoke after being educated and treated for tobacco abuse. As we all know, tobacco is highly addictive
In spite of your observation that tobacco is highly addictive, its victims (shall we call them?) are "abusers", and education is all they get to combat an addiction? Did you say that carefully, or is that a loosely expressed typical view?
That is the "typical" view, but these patients are also being treated medically for the addiction aspect. It just seems to have such a low success rate. It is really sad to see someone that has come through your class, outside of the hospital, smoking. I've had patients that have been admitted to the hospital because they have caught themselves on fire by smoking while using supplemental oxygen. If you are on oxygen and smoke while on it, after you have been warned, you've got a problem. I used to smoke, and I quit. So I know it can be done.

I am glad that the county raised the legal age for this. I mean, how many of us at age 18 were equipped to make major life decisions? And smoking can be argued to be a life decision because, once your hooked it may be a life-long habit.

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Re: Should legal age for smoking be 21?

Post by gitgeezer » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:07 pm

Education is based on the assumption that students are rational. It's difficult to educate the irrational, and addiction fosters irrationality. I once worked with a woman who began using nicotine patches to help kick the habit. Then she started smoking again, but continued to use the nicotine patches.

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Re: Should legal age for smoking be 21?

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:36 pm

Legal smoking age should be 247.

My first year as a nurse I worked Respiratory Step Down. I had all the guys with half a lung left after 30+ years of smoking and related cancer surgeries. I have often said that the best smoking deterrent for teenagers is to have them care for those guys with half a lung left. Get to know these people at a personal level. Let them see firsthand that even taking a bite of food makes patients short of breath.

I too was a smoker. I quit cold turkey when my son was born. It can be done, although I had cravings for a full 10 years after quitting. Super high recidivism rate because nicotine is the most addictive substance known in healthcare. Usually in my patients, it takes about three tries. And yes, patches and gum are supposed to be part of the tapering off therapy. Many smokers use them as adjunct therapy ... or nicotine free via prescription.

Government overreach? No way. The causation of cancer via smoking is massively clear. All those cancer patients raise insurance premiums. The monthly premiums are heavily skewed as cancer treatments cost many millions - and all subscribers must pay into the system. Smoking is a choice, and I'll be happy to help pay for breaking their addiction. But us non-smokers should not have to subsidize cancer treatments for those who refuse to try and quit.

The more education, anti-smoking programs, and potent disincentives, the better. Yes, fix addiction before it becomes cancer. Better yet, stop it before it starts. Starting at age 5, tell children the truth - smoking leads to a miserably painful life, and a slow, lingering death.
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Andrew Fryer
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Re: Should legal age for smoking be 21?

Post by Andrew Fryer » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:01 pm

Laudiesdad69 wrote:these patients are also being treated medically for the addiction aspect.
Sorry, as usual I was in a hurry and didn't spot that you said they were being treated.

An important issue is how much a pack of cigarettes costs.The ex-smokers I know talk mostly about how much extra income quitting gives them (it's getting on for £10 for a pack of 20 here in the UK), but if cigarettes are cheap, then they don't get that benefit.
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Laudiesdad69
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Re: Should legal age for smoking be 21?

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:15 pm

Andrew Fryer wrote:
Laudiesdad69 wrote:these patients are also being treated medically for the addiction aspect.
Sorry, as usual I was in a hurry and didn't spot that you said they were being treated.

An important issue is how much a pack of cigarettes costs.The ex-smokers I know talk mostly about how much extra income quitting gives them (it's getting on for £10 for a pack of 20 here in the UK), but if cigarettes are cheap, then they don't get that benefit.
Cigarettes keep going up in price here in the US too. They keep adding taxes upon more taxes on them. They are about $7.00 a pack here. When I quit smoking in 2001, I started saving my money that I would have spent everyday in a bucket. A year later, I had enough money (almost 1400 dollars) and I bought myself a Gibson.

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Should legal age for smoking be 21?

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:24 pm

Andrew Pohlman wrote:Legal smoking age should be 247.

My first year as a nurse I worked Respiratory Step Down. I had all the guys with half a lung left after 30+ years of smoking and related cancer surgeries. I have often said that the best smoking deterrent for teenagers is to have them care for those guys with half a lung left. Get to know these people at a personal level. Let them see firsthand that even taking a bite of food makes patients short of breath.

I too was a smoker. I quit cold turkey when my son was born. It can be done, although I had cravings for a full 10 years after quitting. Super high recidivism rate because nicotine is the most addictive substance known in healthcare. Usually in my patients, it takes about three tries. And yes, patches and gum are supposed to be part of the tapering off therapy. Many smokers use them as adjunct therapy ... or nicotine free via prescription.

Government overreach? No way. The causation of cancer via smoking is massively clear. All those cancer patients raise insurance premiums. The monthly premiums are heavily skewed as cancer treatments cost many millions - and all subscribers must pay into the system. Smoking is a choice, and I'll be happy to help pay for breaking their addiction. But us non-smokers should not have to subsidize cancer treatments for those who refuse to try and quit.

The more education, anti-smoking programs, and potent disincentives, the better. Yes, fix addiction before it becomes cancer. Better yet, stop it before it starts. Starting at age 5, tell children the truth - smoking leads to a miserably painful life, and a slow, lingering death.
You speak the truth. I don't know how many of my former patients still smoke with the patch. Probably all of them at one time or another. And I, like you, quit cold turkey. Frankly I think this is the best way. You just make up your mind to stop, and you stop. I won't say that I didn't have cravings because I did. And my wife says that I was really unpleasant for a week or two. But I managed somehow. And you are right caring for people that have had a lung removed will just about make you see the light.

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Re: Should legal age for smoking be 21?

Post by Lovemyguitar » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:25 pm

I don't know if raising the legal age will help. As Andrew alluded to, raising the costs of tobacco products might be more effective in dissuading people, and education is important, too, although it is hard to imagine that people these days don't know that smoking is bad for their health. In Canada, anyway, smoking rates have decreased significantly for every group except young men and very low-income individuals, and so the message is getting through to some people, but not others, probably for complicated reasons. Obviously there are no easy solutions, because smoking does seem to be a serious health problem that won't go away.

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Re: Should legal age for smoking be 21?

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:38 pm

Laudiesdad69 wrote:... And my wife says that I was really unpleasant for a week or two. ...
lolz - my wife said I was "climbing the walls" for the first two weeks, and not so bad after that.
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guitarrista
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Re: Should legal age for smoking be 21?

Post by guitarrista » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:43 pm

It gets even more complicated because people also smoke for mental health reasons - simply to relieve stress (and this probably is strongly connected to why very-low income folks do it more) or to self-manage serious mental health issues like schizophrenia. Making cigarettes more expensive is not a good tool to address that.
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Lovemyguitar
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Re: Should legal age for smoking be 21?

Post by Lovemyguitar » Wed Mar 15, 2017 6:02 pm

guitarrista wrote:It gets even more complicated because people also smoke for mental health reasons ...
Very true. And, addiction itself is a mental health problem, and unfortunately, mental health does not receive adequate support and funding (in Canada, anyway, although probably elsewhere) that is needed to help people who suffer. There still seems to be considerable stigma attached to mental health problems such that far too many people see them as personal weaknesses and shortcomings instead of genuine illnesses that require treatment and care just like physical health.

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Re: Should legal age for smoking be 21?

Post by Guther » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:22 pm

Lovemyguitar wrote:I don't know if raising the legal age will help. As Andrew alluded to, raising the costs of tobacco products might be more effective in dissuading people, and education is important, too...
I don't think raising age will help either. As a former smoker the draw to start at a young age can be very strong to fit in to a crowd and potentially start smoking. Education is key, but not education in a classroom setting would be my opinion as it would be as preachy as any other PSA. :contrat:

Perhaps viewing real folks with medical conditions caused by smoking would do the trick. I know that helped me. After seeing that such a self-destructive vice has no future or logic it made me want to quit. I'd even venture as far as saying that making it illegal for those between 18-21 can have the opposite effect and actually make it more appealing to that age group.
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Re: Should legal age for smoking be 21?

Post by MessyTendon » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:06 am

No it should be ten years old! That's right! If you smoke at ten and you don't choke your guts out, then you probably will enjoy smoking. But I think the majority of kids who if they took one or two hits of tobacco at an early age, would never consider it again.

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Re: Should legal age for smoking be 21?

Post by khayes » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:56 am

Lovemyguitar wrote: ... addiction itself is a mental health problem...
Can you explain further? I know it's probably true in some cases, but did you mean to apply this to all addictions? Can we agree that quite often addictions are the result of bad choices that people make? It seems like nowadays few people want to take responsibility for their own actions and consequences...it has to be someone else's fault or else some kind of syndrome or disorder, which would imply they have no control over what happens to them.
Ken

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