“Free Cigarettes”

Public interventions may come in various degrees of seriousness. Of the examples we viewed in class, I connected mostly to those that were not too serious, but had a relation to a social topic. The recent injuries caused seemingly by electronic cigarettes sparked a movement within the government to increase the federal age. As a result, United States federally raised the age to purchase tobacco to 21 years old. While some states remained the same, states such as Pennsylvania were affected(18 to 21). I have strong feelings about the federal age to drink and smoke here, in United States. Increasing the age to buy these substances do not the fix the problem, but rather push it under a rug. All of the injuries were caused through the use of Marijuana oils in the e-cig containers. The problem was that there are no “official” marijuana cartridges used in e-cigs in companies such as JUUL. Most of the cartridges are from non-regulated markets. There is no way to find out whether the cartridges are actually marijuana, or other possibly lethal chemicals posing to be marijuana. The problem, therefore, isn’t about the cigarettes themselves. It is the lack of understanding for minor drugs use and the lack of regulation. Rather than increase the purchase age, the government should have regulated the market for safe THC cartridges to be available to the public. Increasing the age only encourages more black market behavior. I decided my intervention was going to be related to this phenomenon. I’ve asked my housemate to buy me packs of cigarettes. I then put them inside a bowl, and left the bowl in the UC with a sign that read “FREE CIGARETTES”. Not only I wanted to do a favor for those that smoke but also wanted to evoke the sense of more prevalent danger and mistrust that follows the increase of federal age. I left the cigarettes around 1:00 PM; when I came back to check on them at 9:00 PM, the entire bowl was gone. I’m assuming a staff member got rid of it.

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