Does the law allow minors to smoke despite the fact that they are below the legal cigarette buying age? Are minors allowed to have possession of cigarette products, but not buy them? There are several grey areas related to laws about smoking and if not addressed they could be the reason why the number of smokers never seem to go down.
- It is not Illegal to Smoke
A popular misconception is that it is illegal to smoke or have possession of tobacco products at a certain age; the reality is that there really is no law which expressly states that smoking by minors is illegal. Stringent laws dictating the legal age of buying tobacco products are in place, but the legality of smoking by minors is still one of the gray areas that need to be addressed by most states. There are 31 states which prohibit possession of tobacco by minors in all circumstances. Louisiana, Rhode Island, Michigan, Oregon and Mississippi ban tobacco possession by minors in limited circumstances meaning that minors are not allowed to have possession of tobacco products in school properties or in public. By 2005 South Carolina, Massachusetts, New York Nevada and New Jersey did not have laws concerning tobacco use and possession by minors.
- Possession of Tobacco Products by Minors Allowed Under Special Circumstances
Another gray area with regard to possession is that a minor can handle tobacco products under supervision of their employer as part of their job related to the sale of these products. What this means is that minors who work in drug stores or stores selling tobacco products are allowed to handle them, but they are still not allowed to buy them unless they are of legal age. This is a double standard which allows minors to have possession of cigarettes as long as it is related to work, but not posses it if the intention is to consume the product. This could be the reason why teens get hold of tobacco products, because they are buying them from other teens who are allowed to handle them as long as it is during the course of their work.
Smoking or holding lit tobacco is not allowed by anyone anywhere on school property (school buildings, parking lot, soccer field, driveway, courtyard, cars in parking lot) at any time – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Smoking Could Void the Warranties of Certain Products
Two Apple MacBook users found out the hard way that they had voided the warranties of their products by smoking near their devices. The incidents in 2007 and 2008 saw Apple deny warranty services to two consumers who happened to be smokers. The company cited that the users voided their warranties by contaminating their computers with nicotine which is found on Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) hazardous substances list. However, since Apple has not expressly stated that smoking in proximity to their devices leads to voiding of their product warranties they possibly face law suits if many consumers who are smokers pull together to take action against such incidents.
In summary, smoking laws need to be updated or new laws need to be drafter up to address the current gray areas which could be part of the reason why smoking is still rampant.