Bill to raise tobacco age in CT highlights out of touch political class

(Fried Dough/Creative Commons)

A bill being pushed through the Connecticut legislature would raise the legal age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. The legislation has received pretty widespread bipartisan support, although it hasn’t been voted on yet by the full legislature. The legislation would grandfather in anyone who is older than 18 but younger than 21 as of Oct. 1, 2018. This legislation is yet another example of an out-of-touch political elitist class that rules Hartford.

I’d like to start off by saying that I don’t smoke and I am over 21 therefore this law wouldn’t directly affect me. But like many other bills, the premise of this one should worry everyone who cares about personal freedoms. This bill shows how out-of-touch with reality the politicians that support it really are. As we all know, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. That is why there has never, ever been a party with high school aged kids where alcohol has been involved. There has never, ever been a college party where people under the age of 21 have consumed. Better yet, no one under the current legal tobacco age of 18 has ever smoked a cigarette or used tobacco.  

One of the main arguments being perpetuated in favor of this bill is the fact that tobacco is bad for you and therefore the government should do whatever it can in an attempt to curb its use. Do you know what else is bad for your health? Being shot, dismembered or getting PTSD due to fighting in a war. But that’s exactly what can happen to 18, 19, and 20 year old patriots who serve in our armed forces. Quite honestly the entire debate should end there. If you are old enough to fight and be maimed or die for your country, you should have every single freedom adults have. And yes, that includes drinking alcohol (that’s a debate for another time).

Tobacco is an addiction. But are you telling me the lines out of the doors at fast food restaurants isn’t an addiction? Drinking six sodas a day jam-packed with sugar isn’t an addiction? Eating lots of fast food is bad for you. Drinking lots of soda is bad for you. Binge drinking is bad for your health. Let’s just do everyone a favor and outlaw all of it. As absurd as that seems, it is the complete premise of this terrible bill.

Again, tobacco is an addiction that is bad for you. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who disagrees with that statement. But this bill will do absolutely nothing to curb its use. It may even have the complete opposite effect. Underage kids may try it to get a thrill or to simply disobey the rules for similar reasons as to why many underage people consume alcohol. I don’t understand why so many laws on the state and federal level are passed in what seems to be a vacuum. We were all younger once; use common sense to realize that even though a law may mean well, it is going to be broken.

This bill goes far beyond outlawing tobacco until age 21. This bill is a direct shot at every single citizen of Connecticut. Our all-knowing politicians in Hartford are telling you this: you are totally unintelligent, irresponsible and immoral. Therefore we must save you from yourselves. It is an unbelievably condescending, anti-freedom, elitist attitude that has plagued Hartford for far too long. I am so done supporting politicians of both parties that believe they can run our lives better than we can. If an 18-21 year old wants to smoke a cigarette or vape or JUUL after they open their car property tax bill (which has likely skyrocketed due to horrific mismanagement by the state government), I think they should be able to do so.  


Alexander Grzelak is a staff columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at alexander.grzelak@uconn.edu.