When the drinking age was raised to 21, a three-year social gap was introduced between high-school students and those old enough to purchase alcohol for them. A similar raise in the legal smoking age would keep cigarettes out of the hands of many who haven’t yet become addicts.
And if there’s one thing we’ve learned from previous anti-smoking campaigns, it’s that preventing young people from smoking is always more politically palatable than pressuring and ostracizing adults who are already addicted to smoking.
Public-health campaigns can often fall into one of two groups: ideas that are reasonable, and those that aren’t. A slight rise in the smoking age to help keep tobacco out of high schools is a reasonable idea, and one worth acting upon.