Anyone who has ever listened to me at night on New Jersey 101.5 knows I’ve been very supportive of smoker’s rights. I don’t like to see smokers made out to be villains by this politically correct society that we live in, nor do I want to see cigarettes be the dumping ground whenever a politician needs to find tax money.

Marco Di Lauro, Getty Images

 

Having said that, or actually written it. I totally agree with the idea coming out of New York to raise the age for smoking to 21.

 

From a New Jersey standpoint, shops around the city will make more money from those minors who want to buy their butts that they can’t get across the bridge or tunnel. But the bigger picture is that is will save so much money both in the short term and in the the long run.

 

In the short term, these kids who are spending as much as ten dollars a pack for cigarettes can put that money to other uses that can be less life threatening. In the long term, when they get older, we can save so much more money on healthcare not having to treat them for all the diseases they can get due to smoking.

 

A minor can’t legally drink until 21. This cuts down on drunk driving which causes injuries and or death in the short term. Smoking takes away life years later, the years when you may have a family, the years that you worked your whole life looking to have. The years you could be coughing up a lung wondering why you ever started smoking in the first place.  How many people who started smoking in their teens and later stopped wished they never smoked in the first place.

 

I’m not saying make underage smoking illegal. I’m saying make the cigarettes harder to get for minors. They may regret it now, they may even regret it later, but at least they will have a better chance of having a later at all.