In the US, cigarettes kill hundreds of thousands of people all over the country, every single year, with millions more suffering from smoking related medical conditions as a result. Despite this, the cigarette and tobacco industries are still generating billions upon billions of dollars in revenue, every single year. However, one city in Northern California has made the bold decision to ban cigarettes for people under the age of 21, making it the very first city in the state to do so. The legal age has now been raised from 18 – 21 years old, meaning that no cigarettes or tobacco related paraphernalia can be sold to people less than 21 years of age. What’s especially interesting is that California state law governs that cigarettes and tobacco related products cannot be sold to people under the age of 18, so why has one city decided to increase the age by three years?

Who is responsible for the decision, and why? – The city in question is Healdsburg, is the first in the country to do so, which begs the question, why? By increasing the legal age to purchase these products, the state is surely costing itself money by losing custom from individuals over the age of 18, but under the age of 21. The reasoning behind the decision is crystal clear, and it is extremely admirable and one that more people should also be practicing: To save people’s lives. The Mayor of Healdsburg, Jim Wood, stated that it was extremely distressing for him, and his peers, to notice more and more young people smoking and showing the signs and symptoms of cigarette addiction, than ever before.

What are they hoping to achieve? – The proponents behind the new legislation, which happens to include the American Lung Association, are hoping that the new law will help to prevent young people from becoming hooked on cigarettes and tobacco products early on in life, to help give them the best possible chances of a healthy and happy life. One of the main reasons this law was enforced was that a US Surgeon General’s Report actually revealed that a staggering 88% of all adults now addicted to tobacco products, found themselves becoming addicted before they turned 18 years of age. If trends continue as they are doing, it is estimated that close to 6 million young Americans under the age of 18, will lose their lives as a result of smoking related illnesses.

How will the laws be enforced? – Healdsburg will ban all supermarkets with pharmacies, and pharmacies themselves, from selling tobacco related products in a bid to help prevent people losing their lives thanks to these awful products. Retailers will also now be required to obtain brand new city licenses to sell tobacco products, costing each business around $450 annually.

Worries and concerns – Though this bold decision has met with great approval by a vast majority of people, there are of course, some naysayers and some people with concerns of their own. Healdsburg is not a very large city, and there have been arguments raised that underage smokers could simply drive a few extra miles to the next city along, and simply purchase their cigarettes there instead, possibly in bulk to prevent as many additional trips in the future. Overall however, it is a very effective decision and one which will ultimately help to improve health, funding, and even safe people’s lives.