John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Monday, January 01, 2007
  Age Limits and Smoking
I have tended to have "non standard" views on age limits. I don't have a problem where there are different age limits for differing things. When the age of majority was changed from 21 to 18 this affected not only the right to vote, but also the age at which someone could enter into a binding contract. Specifically the issue of obtaining credit is something that I would not wish to make easier at an earlier age.

Whilst otherwise the case is being argued for say a reduction in the voting age it is odd that there is an argument to increase the age at which people can buy tobacco. There is an issue in principle which is the question as to what age such purchases should be allowed. I don't think the case has been made for this to be increased. At the same time there is a practical issue in that it is unlikely to have any effect on the availability of tobacco as there are many under 16s who already smoke.

It will be an interesting debate to square with all the other approaches on age limits.
 
Comments:
Here's a really simple case for the change.

If you are a retailer, you will have the option of insisting that anyone who wishes to buy tobacco shows ID to prove that they are over 18. There isn't a lot of ID available to 16 year olds, but the average 18 year old should be able to demonstrate that easily enough.

It also means that enforcement agencies can expect retailers to take additional steps to ensure that purchasers are of the right age to buy these age-restricted products.

If kids still want to smoke, I'm sure they will, but I don't approve of making it any easier than it has to be.

What is this problem you have with protecting children?
 
I would prefer that people did not smoke. I would think, however, that making it slightly harder to get hold of cigarettes could easily have the counterproductive effect of having more children (under 16 as well as over 16) smoke.

I did vote for banning smoking in enclosed public places. That was on the basis of the effect on other people.
 
John - why do you think this could be counter-productive? A hunch?
 
A hunch that it makes smoking more exciting for kids.
 
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