Posted by on November 24, 2019 1:43 pm

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Categories: Local News

Three of Schuylkill County’s motley crew in Harrisburg support Pennsylvania’s plan to raise the Pennsylvania smoking age to 21.

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Gov. Tom Wolf expects to sign a bill that would raise the legal age to purchase tobacco in Pennsylvania from 18 to 21. The rule would go into effect next July. The last time the legal age to purchase tobacco in Pennsylvania was raised was 1990. That’s when the age went from 16 to 18.

Pennsylvania Smoking Age Up to 21

Schuylkill County politicians in Harrisburg, with one exception, support this legislation.

State Reps. Neal Goodman (D-123) and Mike Tobash (R-125) each voted in support of the bill, Senate Bill 473. Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-124) voted against the legislation. Knowles joined 48 other Representatives opposing the hike in legal smoking age.

State Sen. Dave Argall (R-29) voted for the bill, too. SB 473 passed the state Senate by a 44-5 vote.

When Wolf signs the bill he promised to sign, the new Pennsylvania smoking age will go into effect on July 1, 2020.

The law would include one exception: military service members and veterans over the age of 18 still can buy tobacco products.

Currently, a total of 18 states have their legal smoking age at 21. Pennsylvania would be the 19th.

The New Pennsylvania Smoking Age Law Stinks

The Canary opposes raising the Pennsylvania smoking age to 21 for a variety of reasons. Let’s quickly spell them out:

Nanny State in Overdrive

You have to figure that someone or many people stand to gain financially from this new law in Harrisburg. Raising the legal smoking age will create a few years’ worth of addicts who are going to require some government-funded treatment to break the habit.

Because, let’s be real, the state government isn’t very much concerned with your well-being and how much more well your being would be without cigarettes.

An Exception for the Military

We don’t mean this to be taken meanly by anyone in the military reading this. While you are special in most everyone’s eyes, you’re not special when it comes to the law. The new Pennsylvania smoking age law creates two classes of citizens, military and civilian.

Yes, anyone in the military deserves to smoke a cigarette, hit a vape, or light up a cigar or pipe whenever they want. You won’t get an argument from us on that.

But the legal smoking age issue is a law. And in the USA, the law is the law and it’s supposed to apply equally. The simple solution is to keep the Pennsylvania smoking age as it is.

If you’re old enough to be considered an adult, an adult should be able to make up their mind on whether to smoke or not.

There’s No Phase-in of the New Pennsylvania Smoking Age

Next July, the new smoking age in Pennsylvania will be 21, no exceptions (except for the military exception). So, if you’re an 18-, 19-, or 20-year-old smoker, you’re screwed. Better start stocking up now. Ask Santa for a carton or two or something.

Do these people who wrote this law not realize that cigarettes are addictive? There are going to be a lot of irritable young people walking around Pennsylvania real soon. More likely, people who’ve started smoking at age 18 and most affected by this law will find a way to get their smokes.

Prohibitions Don’t Work

Raising the legal smoking age in Pennsylvania is tantamount to a prohibition. And we know, prohibitions don’t work.

Our local legislators should know this better than anyone.

Heroin and black-market fentanyl continues to be a major problem in each of their districts. They should know first-hand that banning cigarette and tobacco sales to 18 year-olds is only going to increase the likelihood of people over that age buying them for “minors”. Or adults between the ages of 18-20 of finding a way to get them … just like people do because heroin and black-market fentanyl are illegal.

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