Should the government put an age limit on smoking?

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Many people take the view that the government should put an age limit on smoking, others hold the opinion that it is not necessary to have such promulgate. From where I stand, I think that a decree-law to limit smoking age is impractical at this time on today’s Vietnamese conditions. Some arguments listed below will support my thought.

In the first place, tobacco and cigarette are extremely popular in Vietnam but the government does not have effective methods to keep strict control on these products now and in the future as well. Foreign cigarette or native tobacco is sold all over the place, even at sensible public locations such as in front of secondary school or bus stops. With small amount of money, everybody can buy a pack of tobacco without difficulty. Some my friends tell a joke that price of tobacco in Vietnam is many times as less as expense for having a breakfast. Therefore, on these conditions in Vietnam, now, the fist and the most important thing the government should pay attention on is managing tobacco market and controlling price of cigarette rather than finding way to limit age of smoking. A decree helps to prevent people from smoking at early ages is only effective when producing and selling tobacco is put under supervision from the state.

Second, law of commence system in Vietnam is not powerful and strong enough to enforce people following, especially tobacco merchants. Maximum benefit is the purpose of all merchants, so they will find all gaps in law system to regularize their business. Besides, punishment for illegal behavior in commercial area is still light. Generally, retailers will be only made to pay a small fine if they break commercial law. As a result, they will continue their illegal tobacco-selling for young teens because the benefit from this is much more compared to the fine they must pay. Speaking from teens, they are not main objects of punishment from Vietnamese law system and they are not mature enough to realize what is harmful for them; this leads variety of difficulties when we want to enforce them following the legal rules. With the above limitation in law, I believe that as long as the law system isn’t complemented, a decree of age limit on smoking is very early.

According to countless medical studies, smoking has a close correlation to diseases ranging from cancer, emphysema to heart disease. Each individual household accompanied by the government spend a lot of money per year to treat patience who suffer from awful smoking – related illnesses. Therefore, in theory, methods such as putting an age limit smoking to decline number of people smoking is necessary. However, in practice, it is feasible. That’s reason why I protest such a decree now.

TOEFL listening lectures: A lecture from an American History class