Girl smoking at Viehschau Cattle Show, Appenzell, Switzerland.
Until recently, there was no minimum legal smoking age in many countries around the world, and even today, if you are lucky, you may live in a country or state where it is perfectly to smoke at any age. In these countries, cigarette packs still say 'Please do not sell to minors', but it is not illegal to smoke cigarettes, only to SELL cigarettes to people under an age stated by law.
In Switzerland 2015, the Viehschau Cattle Show attracted the attention of a guy from the press, who happened to notice a local custom.
As soon as I started taking photographs, I noticed that many of the younger kids were passing around cigarettes, smoking one after another. They weren’t misbehaving; their parents were around and they all seemed comfortable with it. Letting your children smoke at the cattle show is a long-standing custom, I learnt. Kids as young as six do it
Read Full Article in "The Guardian"
A viewer comment to this article follows:
I grew up in this canton. Things are very much less complicated here then elsewhere on the planet. As for the media-hype with "scandalization" of kids with cigarettes: This "temporary freedom" can be interpreted as reward for a period of very hard work during the the summer period with the herd on the mountains.
While modern hysteria has forced many countries to adopt a minimum age for the purchase of cigarettes - often between 16 and 21 years old, there are still many places in the world which have NO minimum age for smoking, and people are allowed to smoke at any age they like, as long as they didnt BUY them. These countries may surprise you. For example, most places which have a minimum purchase age dont have a minimum age for smoking. In France you cannot buy smoking materials unless you are 18 years old, but you CAN smoke at any age. Same goes for Greece, Denmark, Belgium and The Netherlands.
Countries where you can Smoke AND Buy Cigarettes at ANY AGE
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Falkland Islands
- Switzerland: Appenzell Innerrhoden (see news story above)
- Switzerland: Geneva
- Switzerland: Obwalden
- Switzerland: Schwyz
Countries with NO legal Minimum Smoking Age
Most countries around the world have no minimum age. In Europe in 1995, the UK, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain had a minimum age, but mostly the rest didnt.
Europe 1995 Minimum Smoking Age (Grey=No minimum)
It would take too long to list all the countries, so to see the complete list, check this out:
Countries Smoking Age Laws Wiki
From this list you can see countries and states including: the UK, Texas, California, Utah, Wyoming, Virginia, Afghanistan, Japan, Mongolia, Philippines, Taiwan, Austria, Bosnia, Estonia, Germany, Finland, Ireland, Hungary and Portugal - have both a minimum smoking age and a minimum purchase age - virtually all the other countries have NO minimum smoking age.
Post by Heike on Jun 13, 2018 19:14:24 GMT
Minimum smoking age? I think this is one of the most ignored laws out there!
Post by Dan on Jun 14, 2018 15:39:37 GMT
There are three issues to consider as far as a minimum age for smoking.
First, how much harm it actually does to a child?
In the 1930s-1950s, it was common for kids to start from 5-7 years old. If smoking was dangerous, all those kids would have lung cancer by now 60-80 years later, and people would be dropping like flies. But the fact tobacco is just a plant, and we eat, drink and smoke plants every day. They have to brand the packs 'unhealthy' after a bunch of 60 to 100-a-day smokers sued the tobacco companies for saying smoking is harmless. Smokings ability to harm health is based on the long term - and its all about availability and total solidified consummation. For example, a child smoking 5-a-day and leaving long gaps between cigs, means the lungs get time to recover and are fine. While a 60-a-day smoker is not leaving gaps, and this would be unhealthy. There is a huge difference in 60-a-day solidified smoking and 'kiddie drags'.
Even so, my mum started when she was 7 years old, she is now 70, and finds it a bit harder to breath - but is otherwise fine.
In the isolated farming communities highlighted in this article, the children are allowed to smoke for only a few days in a whole year, and then they return the the swiss mountains where the air is so fresh and clear, its almost solid ozone. So how much 'harm' is this tradition really having - non really.
Second, how much does it actually happen?
Yes we have all seen images of parents giving their babies cigs, and sometimes these are in isolation in a community, and is hyped up to the point where its where its becomes an issues from a non-issue. A few kids smoking is a non-issue. A few fathers or mothers handing their kids cigs is a non-issue.
The other side of the matter is that it does go on, and has always gone on, in the same way, through-out history, and right up to today.
Lastly, does having a minimum smoking age have any affect?
Statistics show that even though some countries have no minimum age for smoking, it doesnt mean everyone gives their kids cigs to smoke. In Indonesia and the Far East, where smoking is everywhere, all children are not seen smoking, only a tiny fraction. This is often based on the fact that cigs are cheaper than food over there, a ciggie can seem more satisfying and nourishing than an expensive candy bar (a cig is 25% harmless sugars). Yet those kids can only afford to smoke a few cigs a day, because of social and economic factors. Socially marginalised kids can still only smoke a small amount compared to adults, and if one child (Albi) smokes 20-a-day, it becomes national news, and broadcast around the world, until that child is forced to stop.
If the same child was drinking beer, a drug which is seriously more harmful to humans, and their mental well-being, the child would not have hit any headlines. There is no minimum age for drinking beer in most places around the world. There is no minimum age for smoking pot, or shooting heroin for that matter - and non of these things affect whether a person does those things or not, only availability and inclination.