On Sunday, new laws in Arkansas and Texas raised the legal smoking age from 18 to 21.
The two joined about 16 other states that have the higher age requirement.
In both states, the age restriction applies to all forms of tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco. It also applies to electronic devices such as e-cigarettes. Tobacco-related accessories such as rolling papers are also included under the Arkansas law.
There are exemptions. If someone turns 18 before Decembers 31 of this year they can still buy in Arkansas. In Texas the birthday cutoff was Saturday. In both states active duty military personnel can still purchase tobacco at age 18.
The laws are aimed at reducing underage smoking and vaping. Supporters say research shows the earlier people start using tobacco or nicotine, the more likely they are to become addicted.
The Texas law's sponsor, state Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, said since some 18 year olds are still in school, raising the age would create more "social distance" between young people and those who are legally allowed to smoke.
Some would argue that kids will find a way to get tobacco products if they really want them. That's true. But the same can be said against anything restricted by age. That doesn't mean we shouldn't make an effort to protect children from harmful substances and influences.
We don't see a downside to this. We just hope both states makes a reasonable effort to enforce these laws.