Letter to the editor: Raise the legal age to buy tobacco

Several teens visited the state house recently to discuss legislation that, if enacted, would prohibit the sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarette, like JUUL, to those younger than 21. Seventy percent of people who smoke say they would like to quit, so we know that many Vermonters are now working to break from this deadly addiction. Once someone starts smoking, quitting is incredibly difficult. The best approach to stop Vermonters from starting in the first place.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently reported that tobacco use among middle and high school students rose nearly 40 percent in one year driven largely by the overwhelming increase in youth e-cigarette use. According to the report, 4.9 million middle and high school students say they are current tobacco product users, up from 3.6 million in 2017. In addition, progress on previously declining youth use of  other products, like cigarette and cigars, has stalled. A promising strategy to protect children from tobacco products of all kinds is to restrict their access by raising the sale age to 21. Approximately 95 percent of adult smokers started the addicting habit before the age of 21.
I ask our lawmakers to refuse to let progress be erased. Commit to saving the lives of their constituents by taking strong action in 2019. Please support Tobacco 21 Legislation.
Abigail J. DuBois
North Ferrisburgh

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