LETTER: Raising the tobacco sales age to 21

To the editor:

I live in Maplewood and go to school at John Glenn Middle School where I’m part of the Support Our School group. We have worked hard to educate our peers on the harms of tobacco. Because of this, it was interesting when our teacher showed us an article from Lillie News about the cities around us who are considering raising the tobacco sales age to 21. That’s a great idea!

Growing up, we were taught how bad tobacco is, but there are still students who smoke and many more who use electronic cigarettes. I don’t want my friends to become addicted to these deadly products. Getting them out of schools will go a long way to prevent people from starting.

Most kids start smoking during middle school and almost all of us know an 18-year-old who is willing to purchase cigarettes for us. It’s a bigger jump to know someone who is 21. In our group, we learned that 95 percent of current adult smokers started smoking before the age of 21. If youth don’t smoke by the time they are 21, they likely never will. 

My group is working hard to create the first smoke-free generation. We are educating our classmates, but we need the Maplewood City Council to help us out. I’m happy to live in a community that focuses on health and protecting young people. Let’s make Maplewood the next community in Minnesota to raise the tobacco sales age to 21.  

Riley Himmer, Maplewood

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