On October 1, 2019, Connecticut lawmakers raised the age for buying tobacco products to 21 because of the epidemic that has presented itself. Several other states across the country also increased the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products, according to Truth Initiative. Vaping has grown to be popular over the past couple of years.
The unknown chemicals in these products have brought teenagers to the hospital with mysterious conditions. In an NBC article about vaping, it stated, “Almost two dozen people in the Midwest have been hospitalized with severe breathing difficulties linked to vaping, and doctors aren't sure why” (Edwards, Dunn). Our state government would like to learn more about vaping before taking any further action. In a Fox 61 article lawmakers explain the reasoning behind the law. “There are 18 cases in Connecticut to date and it continues to grow,” says Commissioner Renee Coleman-Michell, from the state Department of Public Health. Governor Ned Lamont says Connecticut still needs to learn more about vaping, meanwhile neighboring states like New York and Massachusetts are taking action against vaping products” (Lissette Nunez). The lawmakers decision to raise the age of purchasing tobacco products was made to protect the lungs of teens because of the unknown dangers of vaping.
Vaping has been a problem for EHHS students as well. All bathrooms last year were locked. An entirely new bathroom policy was put in place because of the vaping that happened behind stall doors. This new law has caused controversy in the country, and there are many different opinions on the topic. As a result of many recent news stories, there is much more concern about vaping; 26 vape related deaths have been reported. Many teens seem to be in denial of the damage vaping can do to their body.
The age was raised to stop underage children from continuing to vape. “I think the age being raised will help a few kids stop, but overall won’t change much. It just makes those people that were in between the ages of 18-20 pay the price of highschool kids decisions” said a student at EHHS. This student once had a nicotine addiction, “I started vaping at age 11, but I started nicotine vapes in sophomore year. My first device being a PHIX. I no longer vape, and have clean for 6 months.’’ The student claims that they developed health problems from it, such as asthma.
“Nicotine is an addictive drug. Your body craves it once you get so much,” said another student at EHHS. On the news, adults feel the fruity and candy themed flavors make teens want to start vaping. It is like a chain reaction; as soon as one person starts, others began to want to try it as well. This especially occurs when an electronic cigarette comes out and is advertised as a healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes. “All the kids around me started, so I wanted to try it too. It seemed almost harmless,” said a student at EHHS.
However, many steps have been taken to discredit vaping. Anti-vaping ads can be seen on Youtube and on television, and there are even posters hanging around EHHS. Although, only time can tell whether these methods will be successful, as the different views and opinions on vaping will continue to evolve. The age being raised to 21 to buy tobacco products that began on October 1, 2019 will affect teens because it will be more difficult to get a hold of vaping products.
1. Edwards, Erika, and Lauren Dunn. “22 People Have Been Hospitalized with Vaping-Linked Breathing Problems. Doctors Don't Know Why.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 5 Sept. 2019, www.nbcnews.com/health/vaping/22-people-have-been-hospitalized-vaping-linked-breathing-problems-doctors-n1041851.
2.“Where We Stand: Raising the Tobacco Age to 21.” Truth Initiative, truthinitiative.org/research-resources/tobacco-prevention-efforts/where-we-stand-raising-tobacco-age-21.
3. “CT Lawmakers Explain New Tobacco Law to Meriden High Schoolers.” FOX 61, 1 Oct. 2019, fox61.com/2019/10/01/ct-lawmakers-explain-new-tobacco-law-to-meriden-high-schoolers/.