We are the Cochise County Youth Health Coalition, also known as D-Crew. We are a group of high school students who come together as one to fight against the use of tobacco. On April 12, the DCrew members will be asking our Mayor and City Council to pass a city ordinance that will raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco products.
In March of 2015, the Institute of Medicine released the results of a study that estimated that raising the tobacco-purchasing age to 21 would reduce smoking among 15 to 17 year olds by 25 percent, and 18 to 20-year-olds by 15 percent. Many thousands of kids will live longer, healthier lives because they will never become addicted to nicotine.
Tobacco 21 would also cover the purchasing of e-cigarettes, a product with unknown long-term health effects. What we do know is that e-cigarettes have nicotine, harmful chemicals and toxins known to cause cancer and other ailments. Still, e-cigarette use among youth has tripled in just the past few years.
The adolescent brain is not fully developed until the mid 20’s. At 21, the brain is closer to being mature and fully developed, and therefore, is more capable of making smart and rational decisions. By raising the legal age to purchase to 21, it reduces the social sources that are available to younger youth. At 18, the brain is not close to being fully developed and sustains more long term damages than if the age is 21.
We encourage the City of Douglas to adopt the tobacco 21 policy, which will be beneficial to the community. The policy is not about taking away any persons need to use such a harmful product. It is a matter of public health to keep our youth healthy and addiction free. The policy will benefit Douglas by creating a healthier, cleaner, and more inviting community. Raising the age to purchase tobacco products from18 to 21 will help decrease the use of tobacco amongst high school students. The risk of developing a long term addiction will be lowered, therefore, decreasing medical costs. The City of Douglas should take every opportunity to promote and create a healthier and safer community for its citizens, and we feel a tobacco 21 policy can help that.
Hopefully after reading this, you too will agree that tobacco 21 ordinance is a positive change for our community. We hope you will join us and support us on April 12, as we present on Tobacco 21 to the city Council.