Why the Drinking Age Should Be Lowered

Essay details

Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.

It seems today that many companies – such as the tobacco and alcohol industries – will advertise to whoever they can to get as much business as possible; this includes teens as well as adults. Although society recognizes that teens smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, the alcohol and tobacco industries should not be allowed to advertise such products to adolescents; by advertising to teens, these companies are not stressing the dangers and consequences all people may face when drinking and smoking. However, one cannot pass judgment on these companies without knowing the hard facts. Some imperative facts one should look into are legal ages, teen rights and opinions, how companies sucker in people to buy their products, and companies who have attempted to sell to adolescents. It is crucial to know reasons why these companies should not beallowed to poison youth with advertisements for dangerous substances.

Essay due? We'll write it for you!

Any subject

Min. 3-hour delivery

Pay if satisfied

Get your price

First of all, companies should not be able to advertise their products to people who are not of legal age to purchase or use the merchandise? It is common sense to know the legal drinking and smoking ages in America. To smoke legally, one must be of eighteen years of age or older; to drink legally, one must be of twenty-one years of age or older. There are obviously clear reasons as to why the age limits are what they are. In 1993, to “prevent nicotine addiction in children”, “forty-seven states had enacted laws that prohibited the sale of tobacco products to persons under eighteen years of age. By 1995, all states had restricted minors’ access to tobacco products…” .

Eighteen has clearly been known as the age in which one is an adult, and it can be assumed that, not only do people care about the health of children, but that smoking is also, a privilege. The clear motive for the change of the drinking age from eighteen to twenty-one was to lessen alcohol-related deaths; this was possible thanks to President Reagan. President Reagan passed a law in the mid-1980s. “When Reagan signed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, any state that failed to pass an age-21 law…risked losing its federal highway money. All 50 states complied.” The law resulted in a “reduction in alcohol-related death”. Although people believe that “students were better off when the drinking age was 18,” the new law had proven its advantages of reduced alcohol-related deaths. This creates a logical reason why the laws should be abided by.

The Constitution clearly states that American citizens are entitled to rights; when it comes to smoking and drinking, teens have no rights. Tobacco and alcohol companies should not get the hopes up of teens by advertising to them; these advertisements could make teens think that, since they are being advertised to, it is okay. As said previously, “the legal age to possess, use, or purchase tobacco products is 18, and the drinking age is 21”. So, unless a person is twenty-one or older, their rights are limited when it comes to smoking and drinking. However, teens do have opinions on this matter. When asked why they smoked; most teens answered “because it’s cool” (Jacobson 83). This statement proves that it is safe to assume that teens are likely to follow what is considered cool. Teens also tend to put aside rationality for the sake of being cool. Adolescents are known for the typical response “it won’t happen to me,” when asked about the possible consequences of drinking and smoking. Some people probably think it is a good idea to stress the consequences of smoking and drinking to help decrease th number of teenagers who remain naïve to these dangers.

Also, advertisements that are targeting youth persuade teens to buy or do certain things. In most high schools it is observed that teens like to be part of rebellion; is this true for underage drinking and smoking? In a discussion that U.S. News had with teens about the smoking controversy, they found out that two main reasons teens smoked were because they wanted “to be part of a peer group…and to rebel at the same time”. Unlike European countries, the United States has a minimum drinking age. In a study, “American teens were more likely to have been drunk in the last 30 days” as opposed to European teens; thus, showing how teens are more prone to doing things and abusing privileges, they are not allowed to do or have. Some may think that, to actually prevent teen inebriation, and why drinking age should be lowered in America. However, this could increase teen accidents and diseases; one must remember why a minimum age was set for drinking and smoking in the first place. When alcohol and tobacco companies advertise to teens, they are persuading them to rebel against the law by getting them to buy and use their products. It is also commonly known that tobacco and alcohol have side effects. Smoking and drinking definitely have effects on teen life – including education and relationships – and health. Most smokers, adults and teens alike, tend to have cravings for cigarettes. In the University of Michigan’s “Monitoring the Future project, 29.9 percent of high school seniors smoked regularly”. This can become a concern because, if need be, students could choose to skip class to fulfill their cravings. In fact, Sabrina Hall stated that “some kids’ grades went down, including mine, from skipping classes to get nicotine in their system” . Alcohol has also proven to affect teen education and intellectual decision making when it comes to sexual behavior. A PBS “Frontline” documentary showed how an alarming rate of teens had sex with “multiple partners, drinking and drug use,” with “little if any protection,” and “no regard for the consequences”. Not only does alcohol affect decision making, it has also been proven to “damage the developing brains of teens and young adults and perhaps destroy brain cells involved in learning and memory”. Both statements say enough to support the fact that alcohol affects many important things in a teen’s life. The tobacco and alcohol industries should not promote the risk of this happening to more and more kids.

Although it is illegal for teens to smoke and drink, tobacco industries still find surreptitious ways to appeal to younger generations. Hollywood also helps contribute by glamorizing smoking and drinking among teens. The tobacco company – Camel – “used cartoons to attract five-year-old to become the future smokers of America”. Not only were they appealing to teens, they were also hooking toddlers into the idea that smoking is cool. In fact, “32.8 percent of fourteen-fifteen-year-old buy Camel” (Jacobson 155). Even in today’s media people see more and more movies that include teens smoking and drinking. Regardless of the consequences the movies showed, drinking and smoking should not be glamorized by Hollywood or any organization for that matter.

Even though the tobacco and alcohol companies know it is illegal for teens to use their products, there are still companies who have actually directly targeted them. Most generally, it is the tobacco industry that targets youth. It has been known that “some companies flavor cigarettes with honey or Coca-Cola because ‘it is a well-known fact that teenagers like sweet products’”. One must also not forget about candy cigarettes and cigars that are sold in candy shops. Another major example of youth advertising was Joe Camel. Although Camel tried to influence younger people to become smokers, they did not get away with it very easily. R.J. Reynolds’ Tobacco Company was sued in 1991 to end the “Joe Camel marketing campaign” . Even though there are no particular laws preventing tobacco or alcohol advertisements that target the youth, it can face some pretty lawful consequences. Not only does alcohol and tobacco affect a teen’s present, it also affects them future. If a teen drinks too much it may lead to alcoholism. This means that the teen would not be able to function without alcohol. However, “alcoholism is only one type of alcohol problem” and that a person may “drink too much and too often but still not be dependent on alcohol”. This form of abuse may lead to not being able to meet simple responsibilities. All of the above are, of course, addictions. Smoking will not only lead to a further need for nicotine, but it can also lead to more serious problems like lung cancer and drug use. Sabrina Hall stated “there is no doubt in my mind that cigarettes are a gateway drug. About five months after I started smoking, I started doing drugs… almost everyone I know, except for three people, started smoking before doing drugs. That has to tell you something”. People who smoke may think that itis not a harmful thing. Although smoking itself is bad for anyone, it can definitely lead to worse drugs and disease. When the cigarette and alcohol companies try to advertise to teens they obviously show no concern or guilt for what will happen to the kids in the future.

It seems that, when it comes to the tobacco and alcohol business, the companies do not care about what is best for their consumers. If they truly did care, they would stress all the dangers and consequences teens – and all people for that matter – may encounter. People should want to keep today’s youth healthy; tobacco and alcohol industries are showing to be of no help with their youth-targeting advertisements.

Get quality help now

Dr. Diane

Verified writer

Proficient in: Nutrition & Dieting

4.9 (280 reviews)
“She understood my main topic well and follow the instruction accordingly. She finished the paper in a timely manner! I would definitely hire her again! ”

+75 relevant experts are online

More Essay Samples on Topic

banner clock
Clock is ticking and inspiration doesn't come?
We`ll do boring work for you. No plagiarism guarantee. Deadline from 3 hours.

We use cookies to offer you the best experience. By continuing, we’ll assume you agree with our Cookies policy.