When Naperville city officials have too much time on their hands, they look around to see what they can regulate, and apparently they have a lot of time on their hands again. This time they are considering raising the smoking age from 18 to 21, under the guise of protecting our health. It’s always about government officials at all levels knowing what’s best for those they govern.
Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico thinks it’s a good idea, since it would mirror the age for alcohol regulation. Chirico is also the head of the liquor commission, which is pumping our liquor licenses in Naperville at a quickening pace, while DUI arrests in Naperville are among the highest in the State of Illinois.
Chicago recently (July 1) enacted an ordinance banning anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing tobacco products.
Naperville city officials always speak with pride in being among the first Illinois cities for just about anything. However it’s not always wise to be the first kid on the block with a new untested Pogo stick. In this case, if Naperville did enact an ordinance further regulating tobacco use, they wouldn’t be a leader; it would simply be tag-a-long regulation.
If Naperville city officials really want to protect the health of those they govern, and be a true leader, I suggest they outlaw tobacco use and purchasing of tobacco products at any age. Or, if raising the age from 18 to 21 is good, then raising it more would be even better. Naperville could enact an ordinance requiring anyone wanting to purchase tobacco products to be 65 years of age, and be accompanied by his or her parents at the time of purchase. That should solve the ‘problem’. Of course, that creates another problem; lost revenue from tobacco tax.
There is another way that Naperville city officials could tackle the problem of protecting our health. Rather than raising the age from 18 to 21, lower it from 18 to age 5. I am living proof that it works. I began smoking at age 5, and I stopped five minutes later; never had a cigarette after that moment.
My dad was a smoker, Chesterfield, Old Gold, Pall Mall, you name it. One day he left his cigarette in the ash tray and I decided to try it. He caught me doing it, but rather than getting angry with me, he said, “If you’re going to smoke, you might as well do it the right way.” He told me to inhale slowly and as much as I could, and then hold my breath, which I did for about three seconds. I must have turned another color as I sprinted to the bathroom and immediately upchucked in the toilet, viewing my oatmeal breakfast for a second time. Nothing was ever said, and I officially stopped smoking on that day.