I support public health groups such as the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society that have urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York state legislators to pass a Tobacco 21 bill, which raises the age of purchasing tobacco products to 21.
The vast majority of smokers begin before the age of 21, and the developing brains of adolescents and young adults are more susceptible to nicotine addiction. The addiction maintains its strength as they become older, making it more difficult to quit, leading to a lifetime of addiction, disease and early death. Smoking is often the first addiction and can be a gateway for young people to begin experimenting with other harmful substances.
For support, tobacco users can talk to their doctor and contact the New York State Smokers Quitline at nysmokefree.com or (866) 697-8487.
Shaili Saini
University of Rochester