Letter: Raising purchase age for tobacco the right thing to do
The Eagle town board members who oppose the effort to raise taxes and raise the legal age for buying tobacco products are woefully misguided (Vail Daily, Aug. 1). In fact, if the health and well-being of our young people are of any concern to these folks, they should be vigorously supporting both of these efforts. Research has conclusively shown that the only things that are effective at reducing the tobacco uptake of youth are taxes and legislation.
Yes, 18-year-olds are old enough to fight for our country but if we value their service, we should also value their health. While 21 is the legal age at which someone is allowed to buy alcohol there is a safe level of exposure to alcohol. Not everyone that enjoys a few glasses of wine or a moderate amount of alcohol suffers damaging health effects or becomes an alcoholic.
However, there is, in fact, no safe level of exposure to tobacco. Nicotine is one of the most addicting substances known to man and one out of two smokers will suffer from a tobacco-related disease. Data have shown that over 90% of people that smoke started to do so before the age of 18. If the legal age for buying tobacco were raised to 21, and the price of cigarettes increased, hundreds of thousands of lives would be saved.
Carol L. Goldstein Ph.D., RN