Nevadans recognize cigarette smoking as a problem severe enough to warrant a law prohibiting those under 18 from purchasing tobacco.
So it should not be a reach to make it illegal for minors to possess or use tobacco products.
It's tough, certainly, but would any message short of that be effective? The local meth coalition recognizes that the only way to battle that drug is with a strong and universal no-tolerance policy. Why should it be any different when it comes to tobacco?
The reasoning is indisputable. Keeping children from becoming addicted to cigarettes will save them many thousands of dollars over their lifetime, which will also likely be several years longer.
And the rest of society will benefit as well by not having to pay for medical services that most smokers end up needing, not to mention the lost productivity at their jobs.
Smoking is the largest cause of preventable disease and death, accounting for almost a half-million U.S. deaths each year.
The question remains as to whether referring violators to the juvenile justice system is a reasonable penalty, or whether there would even be enough counselors.
But there should be some penalty that would get the attention of teens, whether it's community service or even a driver's license suspension.
Will a new law stop all teenagers from smoking? No way. But it will make it more difficult for them to smoke and thus make it less likely that they will become addicted.
And everyone will be better off