Another “nanny state” expansion of federal power

Note: I sent this to Senator Todd Young on June 29.

Senator Young,

I was taken aback when I read in the Herald-Times that you are pushing legislation in the U.S. Senate to ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 years old. I hope you recognizer your support of this expansion of federal power and meddling in the choices of consenting adults.

Before even getting to the merits of this policy, it is inappropriate for the federal government to even be considering this legislation. The federal government was never intended to have this kind of authority and the Tenth Amendment explicitly reserves this authority to the sovereign states. The fact that your legislation would blackmail states who do not submit makes it even worse.

Senator Young, either we believe in the authority of the U.S. Constitution or we do not. You were first elected to Congress in the Tea Party wave of 2010, which had the goal of limiting and even reducing federal power. I appreciate your stance on the Second Amendment, but the Tenth Amendment is just as much a part of the Bill of Rights as the second. It should be treated with the same reverence.

As to the policy itself: Your legislation would tell consenting adults that they can no longer purchase a legal product. Once someone turns 18, he can fight, kill and die in a war. Millions of men have fought for our freedom as teenagers. Let’s be clear: You are saying that the teenage men who liberated Europe from Nazi oppression should not have been able to buy cigarettes. That is astonishing.

I hate smoking. I have lost family members to lung cancer. I wish no one would smoke. But the best way to stop this is through persuasion and education, not through force and certainly not through expanding the authority of the leviathan federal government. This is not what you were elected to do. You were elected to preserve liberty and limit government. Please do that.

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