Letters:

December 1, 2017
By

Raise age for tobacco products

At Boston Children’s at Martha Eliot Health Center, we provide preventive care to help our young patients avoid risky behaviors — like smoking — that could jeopardize their health. That’s why we strongly support raising the sale age of tobacco products from 18 to 21.

For more than 50 years, we have been proud to provide health care to countless children and young adults from Jamaica Plain and across Massachusetts. As providers, we know that it’s when kids are in middle and high school that they are most likely to start smoking and make it a lifelong addiction. Students who are 18 can buy tobacco products, and it’s easy for young kids to access them.

We are grateful to House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez, who represents our district and has been cosponsor of legislation to raise the tobacco age to 21. Rep. Sanchez also authored one of the key components of the bill that would modernize regulations regarding e-cigarettes, the tobacco product most likely to be used by children these days.

According to the Centers for Disease Control if smoking continues at the current rate among U.S. youth, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 years of age are expected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness. This represents about one in every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger who are alive today.

We implore lawmakers to join the five other states that have already passed this common-sense legislation to make sure that Massachusetts kids have the best chance possible to grow up free from tobacco addiction.

Maurice W. Melchiono

Director

Boston Children’s at Martha Eliot Health Center

 

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