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Age Restricted Products

Age restrictions do not work.  There - I said it.  Seriously, do you really think there is a single 16 year old who wants tobacco or alcohol that can't acquire it?  If you do, you live in la-la land.  Of course the cops think that they hold the solution but then what social or public health issue don't the cops think that law enforcement can't solve? 

I base my rather bold statement on the fact that when I was working as a volunteer tutor at a high school, I regularly observed high school students that I know lighting up even in the parking lot (so much for supervision).  I also frequently heard these same kids talk about parties where there was plenty of alcohol available.  I have spoken to many kids I know that are going to college that pretty much report the same thing.  One time I saw a girl I knew was an eighth grader get into the car with her mother and light up before they even got off school grounds. 

The fact is that there is plenty of use of age restricted products by underage people.  So where do they get them?  The most common method is a proxy purchase by someone who is of legal age.  In many cases this is even done by parents (see the above example).  

My guess is that if we completely removed all age restrictions on tobacco and alcohol tomorrow there would be no appreciable increase in the rate of usage by those formerly unable to legally purchase the products.  The notion that access equals usage is crazy.   That's right up there with people who honestly believe that providing better access to birth control will cause more young people to start having sex.

The real solution is education.  Young people (and not so young) will always make bad choices in some areas.  The best we can do as a society is to provide them with the necessary information to make good choices and hope it works.  This is where parents, family, friends and teachers come in; not the cops.

I know that when it comes to my views on age restricted products I am whistling into the wind but then I have to be honest on how I feel.

Reviewed - June 28, 2017
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