Statistics support raising legal smoking age

I agree with the Washington Observer-Reporter’s piece, published in the Mirror, on pushing for the increase of the legal smoking age to 21.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee of experts concluded that raising the minimum age of legal access for tobacco products to 21 would significantly decrease smoking rates and deaths from smoking.

According to the Institute of Medicine, 2015, “The parts of the brain most responsible for decision making, impulse control, sensation seeking and susceptibility to peer pressure continue to develop and change through young adulthood, and adolescent brains are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of nicotine.”

The IOM report projected the smoking age increased to 21 would reduce rates of tobacco use among teens by 12 percent, prevent approximately 223,000 premature deaths and result in 4.2 million fewer years of life lost for individuals born between 2000 and 2019.

As a nurse, I see this legislation plan to raise the legal smoking age to 21 as a great public health improvement initiative. The evidence proves this will save lives.

We need to encourage our local and state government to change policies and increase the legal smoking age to 21.

Erin Lacue