One reason I am not a libertarian is that I believe the law should be a teacher. What is the law teaching us here? That smoking is a more serious business than federal, state, and local elections? I am not so sure that this is false, but would most Americans agree with me? If they did, they would insist that our legislators either raise the voting age to 35 and stop whining about so-called “voter ID laws” or reverse course and allow young people to purchase alcoholic beverages in addition to tobacco at the age of 18 (or younger). I still don’t know who these people are who; because they do not possess a driver’s license, a passport, or even a free state-issued picture identification card; are unemployed and prevented from driving, flying, or engaging in commerce but who also take an active and serious interest in public affairs and wish to participate in elections.
This is to say nothing of the question of our armed forces. I cannot imagine how anyone could seriously entertain the idea that an 18-year-old should be allowed to sign up for the possibility of losing his life in combat but not allowed to purchase a pack of Camels. Some decisions are weightier than others, and I’m sure we can all agree that volunteering to fight for Uncle Sam should involve more mature deliberation than, say, buying a pouch of Red Man. (This is why Texas and other states that currently restrict sales of tobacco to those aged 21 and older make an exception for the troops.)