The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Student View: Tobacco


Almost one out of every five adult Americans smokes cigarettes, with 21.6% of adult males and 16.5% of adult women smoking. These statistics, provided by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, do not include the number of American’s smoking under the age of 18, the legal age of smoking. However, this may soon change across the nation, beginning with the trend-setting New York City Council, who have passed a bill that current Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is likely to sign. The bill, once signed by the mayor, will make the legal age to buy tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars, and cigarillos 21 years of age, and not 18. This will make the age to buy cigarettes and alcohol the same age.

A question that arose was, “Will this really stop people from buying cigarettes from the seedier parts of the city, or having people who are of age buy cigarettes for them to smoke?” To this argument, junior Julian Montano says they should not change the current law because, “There are people doing it now, outlawing it in general instead of raising the age should be what they should do, smoking has so many [downfalls]. It causes horrible things inside you that [can] kill you.”

Senior Subah Mohua feels the same way in the sense that, “No, [she doesn’t] think so. I think it would slow it down, but with people our age, I don’t think it would make much of a difference.”

The bill passed through their city council with a vote of 35-10. “This is literally legislation that will save lives,” Christine C. Quinn, the Council speaker, said in a press conference shortly after they passed the bill. New York City Council also raised the minimum price for a pack of cigarettes to $10.50. New York City  also, specifically under Mayor Bloomberg, has a past of lowering the use of cigarettes, with the rate of users moving from 17.6% to 8.5% from 2001 to 2007.

In Columbia specifically, the age to buy cigarettes is 18. Sophomore Danielle Yu said, “There’s a lot of people already smoking underage and others think it’s okay… Yea, I  think 18 is a fair age.”

Though New York is not the first city, or state for that matter, to raise the age for purchasing tobacco to 21, it may set an example for others to follow suit.

Montano says of the subject overall, “If you’re 18 you have the right to choose what you want to do with your life, and if you want to start that path, you can.”

“Smoking is very bad for you” - Freshman Chunghyun Lee
“Smoking is very bad for you,” Freshman Chunghyun Lee said.                                                                   
“I think it’s disgusting,” junior Eugy Ngassi said, “and it’s a bad choice for anybody who has a good life.”
“It’s a major health problem and puts stress on the body,” sophomore Jonathan Rich said. “A lot of my friends are allergic to smoking so I can’t really do any of that.”
“It’s just dumb like,” senior Sabien Cook said. “Why would you want to destroy your body?”
By Sam Mitten
Photos by Morgan Berk

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