Marion Board of Health congratulated for raising tobacco purchase age

Jan 27, 2016

To the Editor:

I am writing to commend the Marion Board of Health for recently updating their Enhanced Youth Access Tobacco Regulations. By raising the age of sale of all tobacco products to 21, prohibiting the sale of blunt wraps, and prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes wherever the Smokefree Workplace Law is in effect, the Board of Health is doing their part to protect Marion’s youth.

Experts at the Institute of Medicine conducted a rigorous review and concluded that increasing the minimum legal access age from 18 to 21 will have a positive impact on reducing youth initiation of tobacco use, particularly in adolescents aged 15 to 17. The report brief states: “Raising the MLA to 21 will mean that those who can legally obtain tobacco are less likely to be in the same social networks as high school students.” According to the report, if the minimum legal age was raised to 21 now, by the time today’s teenagers are adults, we would see a 12 percent decrease in smoking rates.

Raising the minimum sales age to 21 helps reduce youth access and, together with several other key strategies, it is sure to reduce youth smoking as a result. Without local regulation, the tobacco companies target young people with products that are cheap, sweet and easy to get.

The good news is that Marion has updated their Enhanced Youth Access Regulations to fight back against these tobacco industry tactics. These enhanced regulations, which will be implemented on March 1, require a person purchasing tobacco in town to be 21 years of age or older. The board has also taken an additional step and banned the sale of blunt wraps, a tobacco product that is often used as a drug delivery device. Smoking e-cigarettes in the workplace has been banned in order to protect workers, as well. For this and their dedication to protecting the health of Marion's youth, I congratulate them.

 

Kathleen Wilbur,

Southeast Tobacco-Free Community Partnership,

Seven Hills Behavioral Health

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