Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Smoking age set to rise

As a smoker I feel heavily put upon these days. I can work in an environment where the air is not fit to breath but can't smoke. I won't go into the rights and wrongs of that now though.

I understand the government intends to raise the age at which it is legal to buy cigarettes from 16 to 18 in October.

The reasoning seems sound. Retailers say that it is difficult to tell a 16 and 1 day old from a 16 less one say old, as there is little valid ID. If they only had to serve people above 18, then it would be easier to tell and so sales to underage children would be reduced.

Fine, I can see the logic, and I agree with the aim. However I do take issue with how it is being done. What is going to happen is that people who could legally buy cigarettes on one day may have to wait up to 1 year and 364 days to buy their next pack. That is wrong. Those who are addicted will find ways to get their cigarettes and pass them on to younger children. It would be so much better to phase in the age rise over a couple of years so as not to end up with the anomaly.

You can read the BBC's article on the subject here.


Innocent Abroad said...

Why they didn't do it in two tranches, so as to remove the anomaly of someone being first able, then unable legally to buy cigarettes, then able again, I've no idea.

Benedict White said...

Well, yes Innocent. They could have used their brains and phased it in to avoid obvious issues and anomolies, but they are daft, and just don't think things through.

Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me how it is easier to spot the differance between an 18 year old and a 17 year old, than it would be to spot the differance between a 16 year old and a 15 year old?

Ellee said...

You can marry at 16, so it seems over-regulated to say you can't buy ciggies until 18. People need to be educated about making wise choices, it won't stop them smoking, just drive it underground. And will police have to spend time making prosecutions on this when they should be catching real criminals?

Benedict White said...

Anonymous,The answer lies in the fact that at 18 you are more likely to carry some form of valid ID that at 16. Ultimately the aim is to prevent under 16's buying cigarrettes.

Ellee, fair point, however you have to prove you are 16 to get married and have parental permission (until you are 18).

Marriages at that age are not currently an issue.

However as Guido pointed out a man of any age can have sex with a boy of 16 legally but not have a share a cigarrete afterwards.

It seems to me we are becomming very intollerant of some behavior whilst being very tollerant of other forms of behavior. Very odd.

Timothy said...

Eh? I'm confused. How could they have "phased-in" this change to avoid the "anomalies"?

If they did it in "two tranches" then surely you would have some people who were: Legal to buy cigarettes; not legal; legal again; not legal again; finally legal again unless they've died of lung cancer and/or confusion.

Benedict White said...

Well, you can phase it in by saying for example, those whos 16th birthday occurs after X date can't buy etc.

There will be some who slip under the radar, and still get them under age, but you create les of a problem.