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Letters: Should Tennessee raise the age for tobacco purchases?

Johnson City Press • Mar 10, 2019 at 6:00 AM

We asked you with Monday’s Question of the Week to tell us what you think of a proposed state law increasing the legal age of sale for tobacco products to 21. Here are some of your responses.

Military should get special exception

The government needs to stay out of people’s lives, but if the state does enact this law it should not include military personnel. If a person is willing to give his life in defense of this country, he should be able to buy tobacco or alcohol products, even as early as seventeen.

When I was leaving for my next duty station after boot camp, my dad walked with me to the train station. We went into the bar and this crippled WWII vet came to take our orders. Dad ordered a beer, and I told him I was only 17 and not old enough to drink beer, so I’d have a coke.

He said, “If you’re old enough to wear that uniform you’re old enough to have a beer, now what kinda beer do you want?”

GARY WHITSON
Bluff City

Smoker regrets decision, still wants to protect choice

How many folks are still being charged with underage consumption of alcohol and or driving under the influence? Did putting the age of 21 for legal purchase of alcohol totally stop the illegal purchase and consumption by so-called minors?

I am a smoker and I am 100 percent against anyone regardless of their age on taking up the habit. I take every chance I get to warn young folks against the habit. I think prohibiting smoking in confined public areas is great, although outdoor public arenas should have a smoking area. I do not even smoke in my own home, but retreat to my garage when I light up, so as not to subject my wife and anyone visiting my home to secondhand smoke and smell. I despise seeing someone smoking in a car with young children present in the car.

I believe that education on the terrible health risks and the expense of tobacco has done and will do more good than raising the legal buying limit. Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Everyday personal choices should not be infringed upon by government. It may not be too long before you must be 21 to purchase a candy bar or soda because of overweight or high blood pressure or diabetes. However it may not be too long before a person can buy and use pot legally. I would rather be sharing the road with a tobacco user than a pot user. Talk about irony!

The age of eighteen is used to signify a person as being an adult in many instances, such as military service, voting, registering a car and so on. The same should be for tobacco purchase.

RANDY TAYLOR
Jonesborough

E-smoke exec weighs in

We applaud the the Johnson City Press’ call to raise the purchasing age for tobacco products, including vapor products, to 21 in Tennessee.

Our mission is to improve the lives of the world’s one billion adult smokers by eliminating cigarettes, because smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death. In Tennessee, 11,400 adults die from smoking-related illnesses annually, which is why we believe it is critical adult smokers have access to a true alternative to combustible cigarettes.

The fact it has taken off with youth is appalling to us. Many of us at JUUL Labs are parents and know that strong action is required. We recently implemented an aggressive action plan overhauling our business with renewed focus on limiting youth access, appeal and use of JUUL products.

Backing Tobacco 21 legislation is another vital step, as we believe it will take the industry and lawmakers working together to solve this urgent problem.

ASHLEY GOULD
Chief Administrative Officer at JUUL Labs
San Francisco

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