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Reader's View: Duluth needs a 'Tobacco 21' law, too

I am writing in response to the News Tribune's ongoing articles related to the "Tobacco 21" efforts in Hermantown and e-cigarette use among our youth ("Hermantown under-21 tobacco sales ban approved," Nov, 5).

I am writing in response to the News Tribune's ongoing articles related to the "Tobacco 21" efforts in Hermantown and e-cigarette use among our youth (" Hermantown under-21 tobacco sales ban approved ," Nov, 5).

As a social-work student and resident of Duluth, I want to encourage a similar ordinance be seriously considered in Duluth.

Electronic cigarettes are a new market we know very little about, but they are just a new name in the same old game of nicotine addiction. Our youth are using these devices at alarming rates. In 2016, one in three Duluth 11th-graders were using some form of tobacco products. Talking to high school students, I get the impression that they think the use is even greater.

Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances we know of, and now it comes in flavors like mango, cotton candy, and blue raspberry slushie, flavors that directly target the youth in our community.

This is not just a problem in high school. This continues through to college and likely the rest of people's lives. As a college student, I am surrounded by a subculture of vaping. I can smell it walking through less-trafficked hallways, and I can feel it in the air in single-use bathrooms. This is invading my ability to breathe clean air.

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Yes, these students are of age to smoke tobacco products, but when they started using tobacco, most of them were not. Ninety-five percent of addicted smokers started smoking before the age of 21.

"Tobacco 21" is a policy for the health of our youth here in Duluth. I encourage everyone to contact our Duluth City Council members and mayor to show support for this policy. Their contact information is at duluthmn.gov/city-council/city-councilors .

We can stop the start of nicotine addiction.

Samantha Nauman

Duluth

Related Topics: DULUTH CITY COUNCIL
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