School board resolution aims at raising legal age to buy tobacco products | KOB 4
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School board resolution aims at raising legal age to buy tobacco products

School board resolution aims at raising legal age to buy tobacco products

Marian Camacho
June 04, 2019 09:23 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. - The Santa Fe School Board wants other districts across New Mexico to join in the call for lawmakers to raise the legal age to buy tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21.

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The board unanimously passed the resolution Tuesday night. They're calling for districts to join in on the effort to lobby lawmakers in Santa Fe and for restrictions on e-cigarette advertising to be implemented.

The board added two new parts to the resolution. They want regulations for marketing e-cigarettes to mirror the laws for alcohol advertising. They also want the state legislature to provide funding for all school districts to provide vaping education and intervention.

New Mexico Department of Health officials say the percentage of teenagers using cigars, cigarettes or smokeless tobacco dropped nearly 17-percent from 2003 to 2017, but the DOH also found that 32.7-percent of high school kids used e-cigarettes in 2017. 

“Basically these companies had an open window for several years to promote and sell an addictive drug anywhere they wanted,” David Tompkins with the DOH told the New Mexican. “We’re starting to close the window, but not before we’re back where we were in 2003 in terms of youth tobacco use. It would be a big mistake for people to wait for federal policy. We’ve got a whole generation of kids becoming addicted to nicotine.”

According to the American Lung Association, 12 states and the District of Columbia have all raised the legal age to purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes to 21.

“We know that 95-percent of addicted smokers start before they’re 18. Moving the age up to 21 will reduce usage,” Tompkins said. "But we can’t just put the law down on a piece of paper. We need to combine it with public information campaigns and enforcement."

The board will have a final vote on June 18, since they made amendments. 

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Marian Camacho

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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