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Mullane: Let young people smoke 'em if they got 'em

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05.01.2020

The raising of the tobacco age begs a question — at what age are you considered an adult?

I had my first smoke at 13. I smoked cigarettes off and on until my early 30s, then quit. It was a bad habit, and I’d never pick it up again.

But would things have been different if cigarette sales back then were restricted to people 21 and older?

Probably not. The drinking age in Pennsylvania was 21, but that didn’t stop me or friends from getting beer and drinking underage. It didn’t stop us from downing pitcher after pitcher of kamikazes, shooting pool and carousing until closing.

We wanted to smoke and drink and do other things after midnight because that’s what grownups did. And man, did we want to be adults. Being an adult was cool. As a kid, I didn’t know any 15-year-old boy who couldn’t wait to A) get his driver’s license, B) buy a car and C) move out.

Adulthood was a Promised Land. There were stories of guys who were emancipated from........

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