Raising Smoking Age to 21: Despite Upset, Governor Says Government Should Not Be a “Nanny”

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Although the Governor claims he shares the same views as advocates when it comes to smoking, he doesn’t believe in the government being what he calls “a nanny”.

Guam – In light of local advocates voicing their disappointment in the Governor’s decision to veto a bill that would raise Guam’s smoking age to 21, Governor Eddie Calvo says a policy like this should be enacted through a voter initiative.

 

Governor Calvo made an eleventh hour veto on the bill that proposes to raise the legal smoking age on Guam to 21 last week, upsetting a handful of local groups and public health programs. Governor Calvo says although the measure was well intended, Bill 141 “constitutes a willful intrusion into the personal lives and choices of our citizens.” Advocates including The American Cancer Society, Youth for Youth, the Non-Communicable Disease Consortium and Vice Speaker BJ Cruz spoke out in disappointment after the Governor vetoed the bill and are looking for one more senator to override and make Guam the first U.S. territory to make the change. Although the Governor claims he shares the same views as advocates when it comes to smoking, he doesn’t believe in the government being what he calls “a nanny” and he says that lawmakers have no consistency with the age of reason.

Calvo explains, “We’re going to look at it holistically on how we can give a better education program to our people so they can never smoke cigarettes. We’ll give them options. If they are smoking cigarettes, how to get them off it. I think it takes a whole effort but I also don’t believe that it’s up to Vice Speaker BJ Cruz being a nanny and deciding what people can or can’t do whether they’re 14 or 21 based on what his opinion is. If that’s the case, maybe we should do a referendum, similar to what we did to smoking pot.”

The Governor stands by his position and says a policy like this should be enacted through a voter initiative.