Illegal to Purchase, Legal to Use?
"Cigarette smoking is the single most important cause of preventable illness and
premature death in Canada. Reducing tobacco usage among youth is the best hope
for long-term reduction in lung cancer."
- The Canadian Lung Association
Certain laws are made to prohibit certain actions. The fact that persons under
the age of 19 in Ontario may not purchase cigarettes indirectly implies they may
not smoke cigarettes before the age of 19. This law is obviously a useless
deterrent because the vast majority of smokers begin smoking between the ages of
15 to 19, signaling a refusal to abide by the boundaries set in place. If the
law was changed so that people under 19 found smoking cigarettes, whether they
purchased them or not, would be punished. Much the same way the sellers are
punished for selling to underage smokers. This would be a real deterrent and it
would result in a greater amount of people being careful about their actions,
and therefore reduce the number or smokers down the line.
It doesn't make sense to allow teenagers to smoke cigarettes, but to purchase
them is illegal. The penalty for purchasing cigarettes before the age of 19
should be the same for any underage person smoking a cigarette. The act of
purchasing is one that is completed in order to utilize whatever was purchased.
If this is the case, it can be assumed that any person buying cigarettes is
going to smoke them. When a person under the age of 19 is banned from buying
cigarettes, it is effectively banning them from smoking. This deterrent is only
useful when the law is enforced. A recent study showed that only 46% of
underage cigarette purchasers were asked their age. This indicates...