Helen Bagshaw: Thanks to legislators on smoking bill

Helen Bagshaw: Thanks to legislators on smoking bill

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I am writing to publicly express my gratitude to both Sen. Jeremy Miller and Rep. Gene Pelowski for their leadership. They were both supporters of the Tobacco 21 bill that recently passed the Legislature.

Sen. Miller is always willing to listen and learn about issues that parents in our community care about, and I am thrilled that he emerged as a critical leader of Tobacco 21 at the Capitol.

Speaking from the Senate floor, Sen. Miller called those numbers "staggering." He pointed out that 95% of addicted adult smokers started before the age of 21. He cited research that showed how thousands of lives can be saved if we can stop tobacco addiction before it starts.

The rising rates of youth tobacco use are all too real. The 2019 Minnesota Student Survey found more than 1 in 4 Minnesota 11th-graders reported using e-cigarettes and 11 percent of 8th-graders are vaping.

As a critical-care nurse, parent and new grandparent, I am deeply worried that more of our young people will become addicted to tobacco and face a lifetime of health problems.

Raising the state tobacco age to 21 aligns Minnesota with federal law and makes it harder for our kids to get tobacco products from their classmates and friends.

Raising the tobacco sale age will help prevent addiction in Minnesota.

Tobacco 21 will save lives.

Thank you, Sen. Miller, and Rep. Pelowski, for your leadership to protect our young people.

Helen Bagshaw, Winona

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