With the passage of a single bill Tuesday, Congress voted to spend $1.4 trillion with zero attempt to address the history-breaking $23 trillion federal debt, and to prohibit young adults under the age of 21 saddled with that debt from buying cigarettes.
Within the monstrosity of the budget “deal” is a provision raising the minimum age to buy nicotine products, like cigarettes and vapes, to 21. Oddly enough, as the popularity of increasing access to illicit drugs like marijuana has surged in recent years, the push to prohibit access to tobacco products has also grown. Hawaii was the first state to raise the cigarette age to 21 in 2016, followed by 19 other states and many local municipalities since.
As Rachel Bovard noted at The Federalist, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been a key part of this movement, introducing the Tobacco 21 legislation back in May. “Since then, [McConnell] allied himself with the tobacco companies, which are looking to this singularly dumb piece of legislation as a way to save themselves and their bottom lines from much harsher regulations from the Food and Drug Administration,” she wrote. Tobacco companies are significant donors to McConnell’s campaigns.
Beyond the lobbyists, the drug laws, and the politics of it is the stupidity. Not only does passing a toothless, anti-freedom law cost taxpayers $18 million just to implement, it doesn’t make any rational sense in the context of what other legal acts the government deems adults under 21 responsible enough to decide on their own.
With the passage of this bill, here are just a few of the things that American 18-year-olds will be legally allowed to do before they are allowed to buy products with nicotine:
1. Buy shotguns and rifles.
2. Get a tattoo.
4. Buy lottery tickets.
5. Get an abortion.
6. Be sentenced to prison.
7. Enlist in the military.
8. Be drafted by the military.
9. Drive a car or a semi-truck.
10. Vote in elections.
11. Get married.
12. Open a bank account.
13. Buy fireworks.
14. Adopt a child.
15. Watch porn.
16. Become a webcam “model” or “actress.”
17. Watch pornography, or webcam “models” or “actresses.”
18. Take prescription contraception without their parents’ knowledge.
19. Take transgender hormone treatments.
20. Undergo sex-change surgery. Have breasts and genitalia surgically removed.
21. Buy a Costo membership.
Congress has decided that men and women under the age of 21 can sacrifice their lives for their country, operate heavy machinery, kill their unborn child, amputate healthy body parts, and make many more risky, life-altering decisions, before they are responsible enough to decide to ingest nicotine. Okay, boomer. Thanks for the weed, though.