New Tobacco Laws

Aiom Makier

On Dec 20, 2019 President Trump signed a new law that prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from buying tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes. The goal is to reduce teenage vaping, which has been very popular in high schools, including East High.

Why do you think they raised the law from 18 to 21?
Kyle Reeping is on East High School’s leadership team. He wants all kids to stay safe. “I think they raised the age because more kids who are under 18 have access to vape pens,” Reeping said.

Know the risks
Tobacco products pose a significant health risk to young people in the United States. Besides increasing the possibility of addiction and long-term harm to the brain development, and respiratory health, e-cigarette use is associated with other tobacco products that can do even more damage to the body.
The part of the brain that’s responsible for decision making and impulse control is not yet fully developed during adolescence. Young people are more likely to take risks with their health and safety, including the use of nicotine and other drugs. Youth and young adults are also at risk for long-term, long-lasting effects of exposing their developing brains to nicotine. These risks include nicotine addiction, mood disorders, and lower impulse control.

Fred Niebaum is East High School’s MTSS coordinator. His concerned for all East High students. “There’s health effects for brain and physical development, there are studies that show tobacco use has negative effects,” Niebaum said.
Until about 25, the brain is still developing and growing. Each time a new memory is created for a new skill learned, stronger connections or synapses are built between each brain cells. Young people build synapses faster than adult brains, because addiction is a form of learning adolescents can get addicted more easily than adults. E-cigarettes use among youth and young adults is strongly linked to the use of other tobacco products, such as regular cigarettes, cigars, hookah, and smokeless tobacco.

Do you believe this law would help the addiction for teenagers?
Mark Core is East High School’s at-risk coordinator. “I think anything that makes smoking or vaping more restricted is going to have an impact,” Core said.

“I do think that laws are effective working,” Core said.
Some think increasing the age of the sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 will help save lives while other believe it would work, but teenagers have a away of going around things to get what they want.

“I don’t see it hurting but I also think kids have the desire to get a vape pen or an illegal item they still may be able to get it,” Reeping said.
“Probably not, I think everything we see in history that gets a ban, you see resistance,” Niebaum said.
“I don’t think it’ll stop the addiction; people have to want to change, any age limit isn’t going to stop that. It’ll be harder to obtain for some people having to wait until 21,” Niebaum said.

How many teenagers do you see smoking a day?
“More this year than any year prior, I don’t have a number, but it’s more frequent than it has been in the past,” Reeping said.
“Right now, I have over nine devices in the drawer that I take and throw away,” Core said.
What are E-Cigarettes?

E-Cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a liquid and produce an aerosol or mix of small particles in the air. They come in many shapes and sizes, most have a battery, and heating element, and a place to hold the liquid. Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items. Larger devices such as tank systems, or ‘mods’ do not look like other tobacco products.

E-cigarettes are known by many different names. They are sometimes called ‘e-cigs,’ ‘vape pens,’ ‘vapes.’ Popular e-cigarettes are called ‘Juul,’ and ‘Njoy.’ The devices used often contain nicotine and flavorings. Many young people get addicted to the devices because they have many different fruit flavored juices, also known as pods.