Many readers can remember when 18 was the legal age to drink alcohol in Texas and a number of other states.
That changed in the 1980s, and for decades now 21 has been the legal drinking age across the land.
But there is something still legal at 18 that many feel is much worse than having a beer or shot of whisky. That's smoking.
In most states it's legal for an 18-year-old to buy cigarettes or other tobacco products. A few states and some cities have stricter laws. While all states have a minimum purchase age, though, few have a minimum legal age for using tobacco.
Both Texas and Arkansas have set the minimum age for buying and smoking at 18.
Proponents say if you raise the smoking age fewer people will ever start smoking. That means residents are healthier, which would save money on medical care and prevent lost work hours and the like.
Foes raise fears of the "nanny state."
We want to know what you think. Do you support raising the age to legally buy and smoke cigarettes to 21? Or do you think 18 should remain the legal age?
Send your response (50 words maximum) to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, Feb. 14. You can also mail your response to the Texarkana Gazette Friday Poll, P.O. Box 621, Texarkana, TX 75504, or drop it off at our office, 101 E. Broad St., Texarkana, Ark. Be sure to include your name, address and phone number. We will print as many responses as we can in next Friday's paper.
Last Week: Chief Wahoo?
Last week's question was about the controversy over sports teams' use of Native American names and imagery. Should sports teams keep Native American references, including team names and symbols like Chief Wahoo, even if some find them offensive? Or do you believe they no longer have any place in professional sports?
The teams that have used for profit Indian connotations—ie: Washington Redskins—should either have at least two thirds, or more of their players be American native Indians, or pick a new name.—J.B., Texarkana, Ark.
Why would anyone think using the Indians or Chief Wahoo is anything other than a compliment?! Any sports team will pick a mascot that is strong and mighty. Why would it be considered mockery? Indian warriors and chiefs were considered strong leaders of their tribes.—C.H., Texarkana, Texas
Is the Minnesota Vikings logo an insult to blond, white guys?—J.B., Texarkana, Ark.