Letter to the editor: City should act on T21
To the editor:
I am saddened to see that our City Commission has not acted on supporting Tobacco 21. T21 is a policy that would raise the purchase age of tobacco products to 21. Some may see this as unnecessary because over the past decade there has been a huge decrease in the use of cigarettes and other traditional tobacco products among teenagers. But what most people are not aware of is how e-cigarette usage, especially JUULs, has increased significantly.
During my time at Free State High School, I went from being a freshman who had no idea what a JUUL was to a senior watching freshmen become addicted to JUULing. It is currently legal for 18-year-olds to purchase tobacco products, and that means there is a population in high school that can easily access them. This makes it very easy for underclassmen and even middle schoolers to access these substances. Right now, adults may not see e-cigarette use as a public health epidemic for teens, but I can tell you it is a crisis in our community. I do not know why T21 is something city commissioners would not act on, but what I can say is the health of our teens matters. Time is not on our side. Every day, more teens get addicted, and the time to act is now. I will not stop advocating for teens to resist any form of substance abuse, and I believe that community leaders should also stand up for the health of youth in our community.