The oppressive paternalism that has become the hallmark of Washington DC kicked into overdrive this past weak when President Trump signed a military spending bill that also raised the smoking and vaping age to 21 all across the United States.
I am not a smoker. I have not smoked a single cigarette, or anything else, so this article is not about something I indulge in personally. I strongly believe that government should not stop us from doing what we want to do, even if it is bad for us. Allowing the bad along with the good is an essential ingredient to maintain a free society.
I am well aware of the very negative health consequences of smoking. I believe that individuals should make up their own minds whether they wish to smoke or not, not have their behavior controlled by the government.
Eighteen has always been the age where we consider individuals to be adults, capable of making decisions on their own. That is the age anyone can enlist in the military so they can defend our country and die if necessary. There has been a steady drift in this thinking, which has increased in speed the past few years. This began with the drinking age, then spread to the age that some states allow the purchase of weapons, now it has spread to smoking and vaping. It does a tremendous disservice to 18 to 20 if we strip them of their adulthood and coddle them.
Banning something never solves a problem, and if you study the prohibition period, you’ll see banning things only causes more severe problems. Banning something from teenagers will only cause more demand. The banning of tobacco products will only make them more appealing because they are banned. This will result in a black market for tobacco products and a lot of 21 and over individuals becoming criminals after purchasing tobacco products for those under 21.
The US Constitution does not grant the federal government the authority to ban anything. The federal government twisted the original meaning of the Commerce Clause to unconstitutionally grant itself that authority. The Interstate Commerce Clause only grants the federal government the authority to regulate the large scale movement of goods and services between states by imposing taxes.
President Trump not only signed the age increase, he celebrated it with this Tweet:
This tweet really disappointed me. It proved once again that President Trump is a big government Republican type who believes in banning things rather than a truly conservative or libertarian president. He’s not perfect but he’s infinitely better than Hillary or any other progressive.