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posted: 3/31/2014 5:01 AM

Increase legal smoking age to 21

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Here's a question to get you thinking: Why is the legal drinking age 21 but legal age to purchase tobacco is 18? Both long-term health effects of alcohol consumption and the use of tobacco are publicly exposed.

Smoking can cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, and diabetes. Alcohol can damage various organs and can also lead to developing cancers. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention website, "More than 3,200 persons younger than 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette" and "Each day, an estimated 2,100 youth and young adults who have been occasional smokers become daily cigarette smokers."

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Since 2008, Illinois has been on a high track of passing and enforcing laws statewide to protect residents from second hand smoke in public buildings. Recently, lawmakers are pushing for the smoke-free laws to be applied to vehicles with children present. I encourage these lawmakers to push for an even bigger goal.

Together, let's educate more on the effects of smoking and raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products to the age of 21. As a young adult, all persons can be educated on the dangers of both smoking and drinking to make better healthy decisions, once they are both physically and mentally mature.

Marissa Diamond

Carol Stream

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