It's hard to believe that every day, more than 2,800 kids under the age of 18 try smoking for the first time. Research tells us that lifetime smokers and users of other tobacco products typically start before they even graduate from high school. And a teen who starts smoking at such an early age is far more likely to develop a strong addiction that can overpower even the most well-intentioned attempts to quit.
Any efforts to bring an end to tobacco use for good must include reducing experimentation and tobacco use among teenagers and pre-teens. Today, more than one in five high school students currently use tobacco. This needs to change. By working together, we can help our youth lead tobacco-free lives by helping them understand the lifelong damage tobacco use and smoking can inflict on their health so that those who don't smoke never start, and to provide those who already smoke the support they need to quit.
Over the past year, since CVS Health announced that all CVS/pharmacy locations across the country would stop selling tobacco products, we've seen significant progress made in the fight against tobacco in our local communities. Hawaii County recently banned the sale of tobacco products or electronic smoking devices to people under the age of 21. Last week, the Mayor of New Orleans signed into law a measure making bars and casinos throughout the city smoke-free. And now there is new legislation in California that is attempting to rise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21.
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