Micah Berman commentary: Raising tobacco sales age to 21 would cut smoking, save lives
What should be the legal minimum age for purchasing tobacco products? For Ohio and most of the country, the minimum age is 18, as it has been for decades. But following a recent city council vote, New York City will become the first major jurisdiction in the country to raise its tobacco sales age to 21 next June.
New York City’s action is a reminder that there is no guaranteed right to smoke at 18. The purchase of alcohol, handguns and marijuana (in those states where it is legal) already is restricted until age 21, as is casino gambling. Setting the age for an inherently risky activity is a policy judgment that each community must make for itself.