LETTER: Thanks, New Brighton, for considering T21

To the Editor:

 

As a mother, grandmother and New Brighton resident, I am pleased that our city council is moving toward raising the tobacco sales age to 21 and restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products. This ordinance is a step forward in preventing future generations from using tobacco.

I worked as a nurse for 21 years and saw the damage done by smoking and other tobacco use. I know that it’s incredibly hard for many smokers to quit. That’s why it’s critical to focus on doing everything we can to keep young people from ever starting to use tobacco products. 

Increasing the tobacco sales age to 21 makes a lot of sense for two big reasons. First, 95% of current smokers started smoking by 21, according to a report issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. If we can keep young people from starting to smoke before they turn 21, they will likely never start. Second, increasing the age from 18 to 21 would remove people who could legally be sold tobacco from the social circles of younger teens. 

Decreasing accessibility is one of the most effective ways to address youth tobacco use. By removing the flavored tobacco products that appeal to youth from stores where kids shop and by raising the tobacco sales age to 21, our city’s leaders will make a positive impact on the health of our kids. 

I’m proud to live in New Brighton and appreciate the council’s leadership in considering bold tobacco prevention policies.

 

Jeanette Beatty

New Brighton 

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