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Stop smokers before they start

To the editor: Senate Bill 151 is a tangible strategy to mitigate the terrible toll that tobacco use inflicts on our state. The age for legal use of tobacco products should be raised to 21. (“Smoking and vaping bills go too far,” Editorial, July 6) Nine out of 10 smokers pick up the addiction before the age of 21. Age restrictions work. The longer young people put off trying tobacco products, the less likely they'll get hooked.

Tobacco companies aggressively target 18- to 21-year-olds to start smoking through music and sporting events because they know it is a critical time period for solidifying tobacco addiction. Their ability to recruit “replacement smokers” ensures their economic future.

If you have a high school student, chances are there are 18- and 19-year-olds in their classrooms, which means that trying cigarettes could be as simple as asking someone on campus to buy a pack.

That's why municipalities nationwide have raised the tobacco purchase age to 21 in the last

10 years. Let's do the same for California.

Ed Hernandez, West Covina

The writer is a state senator representing the 22nd Senate District.

 

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