Letter: Raise cigarette prices as deterrent

To the editor:

Indiana is not one of the more healthier states. There is a higher percentage of teenagers and adults smoking in the Hoosier land than across the U.S.

How can we discourage teens from smoking? We have implemented more smoke-free places, increased taxes some and offered more education; all with beneficial results.

Cost of cigarettes is a big concern to teens. Raise the taxes even more on tobacco and fewer teens will start smoking.

How about changing the legal age to buy and use tobacco and nicotine delivery products from 18 to 21?

Of adult smokers, 95 percent started their habit before the age of 21. By discouraging and preventing youth from smoking before the age of 21 and in a few years, we might have very few smokers.

Changing the age from 18 to 21 is supported by the public. The CDC reports that 75 percent of adults favor raising the age to 21. Even the majority (70 percent) of current smokers approve of such a change. Maybe current smokers know something about what it would have taken for them to have avoided the nicotine habit.

Two states and more than 140 municipalities have raised the minimum legal sale age to 21. At least 15 states are considering such statewide initiatives. Four states have raised the age to 19. How long will it take for Indiana to get on board?

You have to be 21 to legally buy alcohol, a gun or enter a casino. Why not 21 to buy and use tobacco? Let’s encourage our legislators to help our youth by raising the age to 21.

Dr. Dick Huber