21 and over

Students' thoughts on the new minimum smoking age

Many were left with mixed opinions after the minimum age to purchase tobacco products was raised from 18 to 21 years of age on Dec. 20, 2019.

Local gas stations in Big Rapids said they have noticed a change in the number of cigarettes they have sold, but so far haven’t had to turn many away. Those who are now considered underage are informed about the ban.

Ferris sports communication junior Blake Patterson thinks the ban is a bad idea.

“I know a lot of people between the ages of 18 and 21 who are already very addicted to nicotine and taking that away immediately is just going to cause more problems,” Patterson said. “Personally, I just feel like it’s stupid and pointless because there’s many ways for people to get nicotine. Similar to how people still get alcohol despite being underage.”

Not everyone sees it the same way, though. Ferris pre-optometry sophomore Thomas Hursey held the opposite opinion from Patterson.

“I think overall, it’s going to be effective in the long run,” Hursey said. “You’re a little more responsible at the age of 21 then you are at the age of 18, so typically you’re more conscious of the decisions that you make especially because it can have such a detrimental harm to your future and affect your health in the long run.”

Hursey, however, did agree that making it illegal right away can make it tough for those already addicted to nicotine products.

“To stop an addiction, you need to take slow steps,” Hursey said. “It’s not necessarily something that you can start right away, but I think that there are a lot of alternatives to smoking so I think they can take steps without buying cigarettes.”

Many are hopeful that raising the age to buy tobacco will help lower the amount of those addicted.