18 states have passed T21, we should too!

To the editor:

Tobacco use is a risk factor for the top three leading cause of death in the United States, heart disease, cancer and chronic lower respiratory diseases. Preventing tobacco use among young people is a critical step towards reducing tobacco use in the United States. The trend in e-cigarette usage among youth is troubling.

Despite historical changes to the cost and marketing strategies towards tobacco, survey data from The Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey (MYTS), conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health, shows that one in five high school students use e-cigarettes, increasing nearly 50 percent in just four years. For the first time since its inception in 2000, the MYTS showed an increase in the usage of tobacco products in high school students. Nicotine is harmful to brain development of youth, and is found in nearly all e-cigarettes. It has been proven that nicotine encourages other addictive behaviors as well.

Increasing the tobacco product purchase age to 21 is a positive step towards reducing the tobacco usage among our population and reducing risk factors to the leading causes of death.

The findings from the MYTS shows that tobacco use is still a problem and has the potential to continue to rise. I implore you to write letters to your state representatives encouraging this issue to be discussed at a state level and urging Tobacco 21 legislation in Minnesota.

For more information on the law change proposal visit: tobacco21.org

Rebecca Loose

New Ulm

Community Health Education Student, Minnesota State University, Mankato