Letter to the editor: Thanks to towns, community leaders for taking action on vaping
This week saw the culmination of a collaborative process to bring all four municipalities and the county together on an initiative to control the dangerous epidemic of the use of tobacco and nicotine products by our county’s youths.
Vaping, especially nicotine vaping, is rampant in our high school and present in significant measure in our middle school. Anecdotally, kids as young as second graders have been known to use this product. At least six deaths have been reported, and more than 450 people have been hospitalized nationwide with a serious vaping-related lung condition. Many multiples of this number are sick without yet requiring hospitalization. These numbers grow every week. Even those vapers without the lung disease are addicted and have experienced serious compromise of academic, athletic and social performance. Nicotine is among the most addictive and harmful substances, especially in young users.
Thank you and congratulations to Dillon, Breckenridge, Frisco and Silverthorne, whose elected leaders have stepped forward to address this concern forcefully with three initiatives:
• The age for purchase of all nicotine and tobacco products will be raised from 18 to 21.
• All retail vendors will be licensed.
• Placing County Referred Measure 1A on the Nov. 5 ballot which, when approved, will raise the price of a pack of cigarettes by $4 and the price of all vaping materials by 40%, incrementally increasing 10% per year until parity is reached with cigarettes.
All of these measures have been shown to be effective in sharply curtailing teen tobacco use.
Special commendation is due to Summit County Commissioner Thomas Davidson, who helped to enact the state law authorizing local jurisdictions to take this action, and to Summit County Public Health leaders and members of the Youth Empowerment Society of Summit, who testified before all town councils with passionate, poised, articulate and well-researched comments.
We take great pride in our youths.
Dr. Don Parsons
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