Raising the smoking age in the state of Washington
Under-age smoking has become increasingly a problem for youth in Washington state and around the country. The 2014 survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 95 percent of adult tobacco users started prior to turning 21 years of age. 90 percent of those buying tobacco for youth are themselves under 21 years old.
California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon have raised their tobacco sale ages to 21, along with at least 360 municipalities nationwide. It is time for Washington state to join the ranks of the states and municipalities around the country that have raised the age of tobacco access to 21 years old.
Washington youth would be the beneficiaries to raising the smoking age to 21. Some 18-year-olds are still in high school, which is a contributing factor to school-aged children obtaining cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Some have made the argument that if you’re old enough to serve in the military, then you should be considered a full-fledged adult. However, our alcohol and cannabis access laws set the age for access and use to 21 and we have not changed them because we understand the harm that it causes to society at large. As far as I’m concerned, the “military” argument is should be retired and it is weak. We know that smoking is physically harmful and troops should be amongst the healthiest of Americans.
Comic deserves chance to explain and apologize
The Non-Sequitur comic strip was discontinued because one of its frames included a “profane” insult to Trump (Olympian, Feb 10). I’ve enjoyed Non Sequitur for 30+ years, here and in California, and never saw anything like that in that feature. (I did miss the recent “insult” on account of snow-day delivery complications.)
A couple of thoughts occur to me.
First, why shouldn’t Trump be insulted? He himself insults everyone that disagrees with him, daily, in personal uncivil terms. (He tweeted Adam Schiff, a congressman, “Adam Schitt.”) He shouts down questioners, insults America’s allies, spews lies daily, wrecks our trade pacts, cozies up to (smirking) dictators, sabotages environmental protection laws, covers up for murderous Saudis, obstructs legal investigations of himself and his cronies, creates crises to distract from his incompetence, and deserves America’s contempt – including profane insults -- for many reasons. Should we not “stoop to his low level,” as the pious platitude has it? We should. Not paying him back in his own coin is like not shooting back at an active school shooter.
Second, media (including comics) are among the very few powerful credible entities able to challenge Trump and his stooges and enablers in Congress. Whenever a news outlet allows itself to be stifled by Trump’s enforcers, a little bit more of our hope of ever restraining him is lost.
Why not give the cartoonist an opportunity to explain, apologize if need be, and promise never to use whatever crass language appeared in the strip again?