One of the greatest anomalies that people from European countries have pointed out about the disparity in American law has to do with the age at which people are allowed to partake in certain activities. For example, only in the U.S. can you drive a car on an interstate highway at 16, go to war and die for your country at 18, but you have to be 21 to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. Go figure.
One Michigan legislator is hoping to change that. However, it’s unlikely that many young smokers are going to be excited about his proposal. House Representative Tommy Brann has introduced a bill that would change Michigan’s legal smoking age from 18-years-of-age to 21. Yes, you read that right – under the new legislation, Michigan’s smoking age would go up another three years.
H.B. 4736, also known as the Youth Tobacco Act, would amend the state’s current smoking law that specifies 18 as the age at which a person may legally purchase and consume tobacco products. That includes cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, e-cigarettes, and all other forms of tobacco. The only product exception to the age limit would be tobacco cessation products
The legislation has already gained no less than 13 sponsors, which means that there is a chance that eventually, this bill may be signed into law. Interestingly, Michigan isn’t the only state where this type of law is up for consideration. Currently Hawaii and California are the only two states where the smoking age is now 21, however there are numerous other states that are currently considering the same move.
According to the Center for Disease Control, tobacco use remains “the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States”, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year, with more than 41,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke
So what would this change mean for the current smokers?
Would they be grandfathered in under the new legislation? Would current smokers under the age of 21 be allowed to continue smoking, and the law only applied to future smokers who hadn’t yet reached the age of 18? Not likely.
If the smoking age in Michigan changes, it will probably mean that current smokers who are between the ages of 18 and 21 will simply be required to quit smoking. This is most likely why the new legislation doesn’t include tobacco cessation products in the 21 age limit. After all, if this bill is signed into law, there are going to be a whole lot of young smokers out there who are suddenly no longer legally allowed to smoke.
Laws in Michigan change regularly. Things that were legal in one month can suddenly be illegal the next. This can make life somewhat complex for Michigan residents, many of whom had no idea they were breaking the law. At The Kronzek Firm, we represent many clients who are factually innocent. They had no idea the law had changed, and so they didn’t know they were in violation of Michigan law.
If you or a loved one have been accused of breaking the law for doing something that you didn’t realize was illegal, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys at 866 766 5245 immediately. We are here to help you, and to ensure that your rights are protected. Don’t wait and hope that the situation resolves itself – take a proactive approach and defend your future!