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Editor:

Raise the age? I am writing in response to Thomas Tallon's guest essay on Saturday, Nov. 25, regarding raising the age required of tobacco purchasers in Warren County from the current 18 to 21 years of age. While there is no doubt, after decades of study, that smoking is an extremely dangerous habit and the older an individual is at the time of starting the habit, the better chance they can stop before taking on a lifelong deadly hobby, there exists, in my mind, several problems with increasing the age restriction for the purchase of tobacco products. We have already raised the age to purchase alcohol to 21, with no direct proof of benefits from either actual availability or a change in habits of teenagers. The main argument, however, is a question of freedom. We, as a country, allow and encourage our youth to enlist in the armed forces, to pledge their lives to protect our freedoms, at the age of 18. So, I guess the idea is they are mature enough to decide to lay down their lives for our country, but definitely not mature enough to purchase alcohol, and probably not mature enough to purchase tobacco products? Am I missing something here? A teenage combat veteran of the war in Afghanistan is free to lose life and limb overseas for us, but not buy a beer in his/her America? Now we want to add tobacco to that more restricted list?

Sometimes freedom is a lot more complicated than protecting people from themselves.

Thomas Harvey, Queensbury

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