Decision not a proven strategy

As a retired pulmonologist and member of the board of directors of Breathe New Hampshire, we are disappointed in the new state law raising the tobacco-products’ sales age, including e-cigarettes and vapes, to 19. This is not a proven public health strategy and is not based on science.

Nineteen is not enough because: brains are still developing up to age 25; nicotine is highly addictive and rewires young brains; 18 to 20 is when smokers and vapers typically become daily users; 95% of those who use tobacco products start before 21, and 88% start before 18.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 21 as the minimum age for sales of tobacco products, and Breathe New Hampshire agrees. This is critical to protect youth targeted by the vape and tobacco industry. The science is clear that the brain is the last organ to develop. This makes it uniquely susceptible to addicting substances like nicotine.

Nineteen doesn’t go far enough to protect teens and pre-teens from tobacco initiation and nicotine addiction, and to prevent lung disease.

Breathe New Hampshire was instrumental in getting HB1541 passed in 2010, prohibiting the sales of e-cigarettes to minors – one of the first states to do so. We are committed to preventing lung disease and youth nicotine addiction, and offering public education about the youth vaping epidemic (CDC, FDA) through our signature program, Vaping Unveiled, What Everyone Needs to Know.

See www.BreatheNH.org or call 603-669-2411 to bring Vaping Unveiled to your community.

Albee Budnitz, MD, FACP, FCCP is a retired pulmonologist and member of the Board of Directors of Breathe New Hampshire. Breathe NH, founded in 1916, is the only nonprofit public-health agency in the state committed solely to lung health.