OpEd: Raising The Smoking Age to 25 Will Limit Cigarette Usage

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Every day across this country, more than 1,000 individuals die from smoking.

With vaping usage rates on the rise, which has in turn resulted in increased cigarette usage, our vulnerable youth risks falling into the same toxic cycle of nicotine addiction that has robbed so many individuals of their future.

Of the daily deaths that have occurred due to smoking, 90 percent of those deaths smoked their first cigarette by the age of 18 years. One thing is clear — the data shows that if you have not smoked by age 25, you probably won’t. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that almost no one starts smoking after age 25.

We have the unique opportunity to protect the future of our children and help take a crucial step in ensuring that they do not fall into the same toxic and addictive patterns that have cost too many their lives. We can help accomplish this by raising the smoking age in Suffolk County to 25.

“Let us make the next generation the one that breaks
the chains of tobacco and nicotine addiction.”

While this legislation has become controversial, saving lives should not be. In a report published by the Institute of Medicine in 2015, raising the smoking age to 25 will lead to significant and substantial reductions in smoking. More essentially, this proposed legislation safeguards the health and well-being of our communities within Suffolk by preserving the future of our youth.

Today more than ever, the importance of caring for our respiratory and overall health cannot be emphasized enough. As an elected official, I uphold the duty to better the lives of residents residing within the 9th Legislative District, which includes parts of Brentwood, Central Islip, and Bay Shore.

Through this legislation, we can highlight the gravity and severity of smoking cigarettes, but also take important steps in limiting the number of deaths and medical implications that result from incessant cigarette usage. This issue has the potential to affect all individuals, and transcends party lines or any other socioeconomic barrier — prompting necessary action to better protect our constituency.

The time for action is long overdue. Let us make the next generation the one that breaks the chains of tobacco and nicotine addiction — something that we can fulfill through bipartisan work that puts the health of our constituents in Suffolk first.

Samuel Gonzalez is a Suffolk County legislator.

Related Story: Suffolk Pols Eye Upping Smoking Age To 25

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