News & Politics

Oregon's New Tobacco Laws Embrace 'Nanny State' Ideology

(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

When I think of the worst “nanny state,” the first place I think of is California. Its hard-left politics seem to be a natural place for the mind to go, after all. However, its neighbor to the north may be taking the crown soon.

Recently, Oregon raised the age on tobacco and vaping products to 21. That’s well above the 18-year-old limit in nearly every other state. Oregon’s measure fines anyone convicted of selling tobacco and vaping products to anyone under the age of 21; the fines range from $50 to $1000.

Of course, the law is useless. “Just have a friend pick it up. I mean, it’s not gonna change anything for anyone who smokes. It’s not like you want to stop because it’s illegal now,” said one 18-year-old smoker on New Year’s Eve.

He’s right, obviously. For decades, the drinking age has been 21 almost everywhere. However, it is not particularly difficult for the average 16-year-old high school student to get his hands on alcohol, let alone an 18- to 21-year-old adult. Why would tobacco be any different for this age group?

Yes, I understand the health risks associated with smoking. I know them all too well. I blame smoking for my mother’s death several years ago.

However, 18-year-olds are all well-acquainted with the risks involved in tobacco use. No smoker is unaware that tobacco is addictive and dangerous.

Some folks want to do it anyway, though — it’s called adulthood, and liberty. But nanny-staters just can’t have that. Oregon finally passed a law allowing folks to pump their own gas, and the reaction from some nanny-staters was as if the state just approved Armageddon.

I hate to break it to the nanny staters, but they’re not accomplishing anything.

Beaverton, Oregon’s Troy Wines says, “If you can go to war, you can vote, you can do all that, you wait till you turn 18 to get some type of freedom and they want to take it away from you. I don’t think it’s right.”

No, it’s not right. This is what happens when people think the government is a tool that can and should be used to save you from yourself.