Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Butt out tobacco purchases until 21

It’s one of the nastiest habits I’ve ever known. 

I don’t understand the glamorization around it. 

To me there is nothing more disgusting that a person can do to their body.

Without question, it’s probably one of the unhealthiest things in life. 

If you haven’t guessed it yet, I’m referring to smoking. And if it’s not obvious to you already, I think puffing away on a cancer stick is the grossest thing in life.

I’ll admit I tried smoking (just a few cigarettes) a couple times in my younger years, but quickly found it just wasn’t for me. I just never understood the attraction behind lighting one up. As I grew older, I absorbed the health benefits of staying smoke-free.

For several years I lived with a smoker. I will never forget how annoying and irritating it was to inhale second-hand smoke and have stinky clothes all the time. I just can’t imagine what all that nicotine does to a smoker’s lungs. 

Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Smoking cigarettes is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. But it’s not only the lungs you have to worry about. 

Smoking can harm nearly every organ of the body. It causes nearly one of every five deaths in this country every year. 

Just last week Edina became the first Minnesota city to raise its tobacco sales age to 21. The Twin Cities suburb’s new ordinance, known as Tobacco 21, will raise the purchasing age for all tobacco-related products, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes. 

Supporters say raising the minimum sales age will remove tobacco from the high-school environment.

I think it’s time for other communities around the state, including those in Dodge and Steele counties, to do the exact same thing. 

By working together, we can protect generations to come from these dangerous and deadly products.

Let’s start the public discussion in our communities about doing the right thing for our youth and limiting access to tobacco until 21. Kids may not like it now, but they may actually thank us when they grow older. 

While grown adults can puff away as much as they want, it seems reasonable to me that we need to do everything we can to curb access to teenagers. If we can prevent teens from lighting up, there will be a better chance that they will live a smoke-free life.

A national consensus is growing to prevent addictions and future health problems by raising the sale age of tobacco products to 21. California and Hawaii and more than 220 cities and counties throughout the U.S. have raised the tobacco age. 

Nearly 95 percent of adult addicted smokers start before age 21. The logical thinking would be that if young people make it to 21 without smoking, chances are they will never start.

Research shows that increasing the tobacco age in Minnesota would prevent 30,000 kids from becoming smokers over the next 15 years. The tobacco industry heavily targets 18-to-21-year-olds with candy flavoring, magazine advertisements and event sponsorships.

For years we’ve all heard about the harmful effects of smoking. I always remember my oldest daughter and how proud I was of her when she put together an anti-smoking presentation for a school project several years ago. 

I believe we need to do everything to help teens make better choices in life. Going in hot pursuit of enacting Tobacco 21 would be a step in that direction. 

Let’s keep today’s youth from becoming a tobacco casualty in the future.  

 

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Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times
507-583-4431
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent
507-634-7503
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
507-634-2661
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

 

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