Time to Make a Change With No Minor Sale
My name is Kaylynn Belew and I am a sophomore at Portales High School. This is my second year participating in Evolvement and my first year on the leadership team. Evolvement’s goal is to educate community members and students on the harmful effects of tobacco use and flavored products. Students also promote tobacco-free school policies and ending the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors in New Mexico.
One of Evolvement’s campaigns is No Minor Sale. This campaign works to reduce the sale of tobacco products/flavored products to minors and educate our communities. The No Minor Sale campaign and its volunteers pushed to get the Tobacco Products Act signed into law last year. The Act increased the minimum age of legal sale of tobacco products to 21 years old in the state of New Mexico. The Tobacco Products Act also created new licensing requirements for retailers. No Minor Sale’s new focus is on flavored tobacco products and their effect on minors. Flavored tobacco products are far more appealing to minors compared to regular tobacco. 97% of teenagers who vape use flavored products and use that as a key reason to start using tobacco products.
The impact of tobacco use and flavored products on youth and communities across the nation is negative. People are putting their health and others’ health at risk. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, each year approximately 7,330 people die from lung cancer via second-hand smoke. And about 33,950 people die of heart disease caused by someone else smoking. Tobacco use also has an environmental impact on our communities. Air pollution and cigarette litter are both examples. We can all play a part in improving our homes and communities, to better the lives of the next generations.
Based on statistics, if we restrict flavored products, the number of people suffering from nicotine addiction will drop dramatically. That 97% of teenagers wouldn’t have a reason to use tobacco products. I believe that people my age need to focus on grades and enjoying their teenage years, rather than fighting addiction.