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Outlawing smoking for the young is a social responsibility

  • 31 July 2017


When limitations are placed on an individual’s liberty some people will call it bureaucracy or tyranny; others will say that they have been denied an opportunity to make decisions. The common sense middle position is typically that freedoms should be protected if they do not infringe on other peoples’ rights. 

Sometimes common sense is not as common as we always think, however. Allowing events to unfold naturally, without intervention, can often result in the worst outcome. That is why it is prudent for the Australian government to come up with the noble idea of controlling smoking spree by lifting the age limits for 21 years.

Smoking costs the economy about $4 billion per year, money that could be channeled to other sectors of the economy for development purposes. Currently, this is considered an opportunity cost.

It has been found by research done by the Institute of Medicine that the raising of the legal age to 21 reduces the prevalence of the teenage smoking by 12 percent. They also found that the effect of tobacco is more intense on teenagers between the ages between 15 years to 17 years. By implementing regulation to control the purchase and usage of smoke under the age of 21 years, the country will stand a chance of becoming more labor and capital abundant.

Some scholars have criticized the current debate by saying that it will not be in line with culture to introduce a new law forbidding something before the age of 21. But we should look at the bigger picture of the impact the smoking splurge brings to the society. Young people are more prone to become addicted to nicotine, and to become heavy smokers they reach adult age. They also tend to find it harder to quit.

Strictly enforcing a law on the sale of tobacco to minors or people younger than 21 years would be a milestone. It would reduce the adverse effects of nicotine addiction on users and non-users.

There is a fear that adults can sabotage the effectiveness of any regulation by buying cigarettes for minors, but there is still likely to be a significant reduction in the effects that nicotine has on the economy. This has been evident in countries like the US, where the cigarettes sales have been reduced by 2 per cent.

Tobacco smoking can lead to the development of diseases that affect the productivity of young people. Rrestricting its use will save young people