Just say no to tobacco (yes that includes vaping)


Dear Editor,

To many, tobacco has become the most controlling thing in their lives, and it has been since they first used it. The addictive adrenaline rush has hooked millions—and kills 480,000 Americans each year, with around 10 percent of that being just from second-hand smoke.

At the age of 21, the human brain is not fully developed, and although Missouri may think its tobacco laws are strict, they really aren’t. It takes another four years for the brain to fully mature and develop, giving emerging adults plenty of time to try it and possibly ruin their whole lives.

Tobacco should be outlawed, as an article from The New York Times states, “Scientists have found, for instance, that nicotine is as addictive as heroin, cocaine or amphetamines, and for most people more addictive than alcohol.” While some people can manage using tobacco and still be extremely successful, that percentage is too low to even quote, and if you want to live the most successful life possible, quit now, or suffer the consequences later.

Christopher Columbus was one of the first non-native Americans to see tobacco when he came to America in 1492. At first, Columbus threw the tobacco overboard, not knowing what to do with the nasty looking, nasty smelling plant, but after a while he and his crew finally found out how to use it, and it took off.

At first, it was just intended for adult use, but slowly and slowly, tobacco has become a symbol of rebellion in the teen years, especially with the emergence of devices such as JUULS, Sorins and any other vapes. Devices like these are normally smaller than the size of your palm, and can deliver insane amounts of nicotine. While some may say that vapes are healthier than cigarettes or chewing tobacco, that’s true to an extent, but the damage done psychologically is the same, if not worse, due to the high amounts of milligrams of nicotine in the products.

One regular JUUL pod contains the same amount of nicotine as 20 cigarettes, and from personal experience, I can say that that amount will last an experienced JUUL-er about a day. My roommate will drain about a pod and a half in a day, not including the dip he uses. He is one out of a million college students and emerging adults that are addicted to nicotine because of the low tobacco age. But the age to buy tobacco products in Missouri is 21, which means it’s already higher than most states that only require emerging adults to be 18.

The University of Rochester Medical Center conducted a medical study that shows that the human brain does not fully develop till the age of 25, meaning that is when your decisions will be sharpest, and the choices you will be making will be in your best interests, not because you’re trying to show off or be like everyone else who uses tobacco products.

While many states are trying to raise tobacco ages from 18 to 21, it simply isn’t enough anymore. Actions must be taken to outlaw a drug that is the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing 1,300 people a day. Many may think this doesn’t affect them, especially if they are only occasional tobacco users, but it’s not about anybody specifically anymore, it’s about the big pictures.

Increasing amounts of medical centers are finding links between nicotine addiction and newborn children, as they get passed down the addiction genetically by the addicted parents.

The scariest statistic amongst them all is from the CDC, stating, “If smoking continues at the current rate among U.S. youth, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 years of age are expected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness.”

We all know the reality is that no matter what, any parent would want the best for their child, so drop the cigarette, JUUL or can of dip and take action against tobacco.