You now have to be 21 years old to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products in California. That was already the case in Hawaii and a few cities, such as Boston and New York.
Which is absolutely ridiculous.
What’s really ridiculous is that smoking is still permitted at all in this country. The stuff is absolute poison, reason enough to ban it entirely, but what distinguishes tobacco smoke from most other poisons is that in addition to poisoning those who use it, tobacco smoke poisons everyone around them as well.
But the folks who run California (and Hawaii and those other places) decided on a ridiculous half-hearted measure: just like the people and places that ban cigarette smoking in restaurants, public buildings, and even beaches, they lack the guts to ban smoking entirely and instead just focus on a narrow group of smokers.
Young people can drive cars, attend college, hang drywall, fix plumbing, marry, and have babies. All those things require judgment, and we permit young people to do them because we believe those young people can exercise the kind of judgment needed to do those things. We even give them powerful weapons and turn them loose in foreign lands to defend oil interests and people who don’t want their help.
And if we believe they have the judgment to do all those things, we should trust them to make their own decisions about whether they will smoke.
Until we develop the cojones to take that decision out of everyone’s hands and ban smoking entirely.