New smoking law: More harmful than helpful?

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Spartan Shield

Tobacco/Nicotine products being sold in Iowa at the age of 21.

Blake Sherman, Photo Manager

On Dec. 20, 2019, Iowa raised the age minimum for purchasing tobacco or nicotine products from 18 to 21. The new law affects Iowa teenagers and young adults across all stores in the state with the purchase of tobacco/nicotine products. The recent law change has caused controversy with teens who were 18 years old using the product before the change. 

Most seniors are turning 18 years old during the school year or already have, with many students raising concerns for why the state government has changed the law to be a minimum of 21 years old to purchase the legal drugs of tobacco and what’s in tobacco is nicotine. 

Senior Brandon Young had some commentary about the new change of law, emphasizing, “People I know who started smoking cigarettes at 18 years old don’t like it because they were using Juul to quit.”

This has put people in positions to stop their nicotine addiction — or “buzz” per-say — to go cold turkey on the use of tobacco. This actually raises concerns for other products to be sold illegally through people at the age of 21 years old buying these products for them.

Young thought the change wouldn’t be very effective. “I don’t agree with this law because it has led to more unregulated nicotine/tobacco devices flooding the market, which could be more harmful,” he said. Young provides a reasonable explanation for why the law change will create more illicit nicotine/tobacco products being sold in gas stations that will be just as bad or worse for the physical health of someone using the legal drugs at age 21. 

Pam Cinadr, the nurse at PV, thought the law change wouldn’t be very effective because kids who consume these products will still find a way to get them. “If there is something that [kids purchasing these products] want, [they] will find a way to get that product, either by a parent or older siblings and fake I.D. ‘s are totally prevalent,” she said.

She made the point wherever these products are being sold — and where kids are finding the need to purchase these products — there will always be a way for these products to be one’s possession who is below the legal age.