You have to be 18 right now to buy a pack of cigarettes or other tobacco.
But the Vision Joplin 2022 wants to see the age raised to 21 a rep from the group, Scott Vorhees says:
"Teens 18, 19, and 20 who use tobacco are much more likely to become lifelong nicotine addicts who face health issues and have a shorter life span. Young people who use e-cigs or chew may not be able to realize the long-term life costs of those decisions until it is too late."
But it's up to the people who sell tobacco to be the real enforcement.
"On a personal level, it would be great. But in the real world, i don't know that it's going to be feasible, because we have to enforce it day in and day out, even at 18" says Angela Cates, who manages Doc's Stop.
The Heart Association believes the policies offer prevention by limiting access tobacco products, which endangers health.
"We know that smoking harms nearly every organ in the body. It causes many diseases and really reduces the health of smokers in general. Smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease in our country" says Karen Englert.
We called several Joplin gas stations, and they said raising the legal age would effect their sales.
Vision Joplin 2022 also wants City Council to adopt a ban on smoking in public places.
Which might impact other places like El Guapos Cigar and Pipe Lounge .
"We don't allow cigarettes or vaping in here because I do believe that cigarettes are bad for you. We offer the alternative to that. And if they decide they are going to start squeezing down on where you can smoke at, then places like myself, I think we probably would benefit from that. But I'm not encouraging that. I don't think you fix the problem telling people where and where they can't go smoke" says the owner, Alex Menejias.
Whether the Joplin City Council decides to adopt the ordinances or not, is yet to be determined. But Joplin voters previously said no to the smoking ban in public spaces.
The full Vision Joplin 2022 statement:
Our goal is to help make the Joplin community healthier. Recently, Joplin was named the least healthy city in Missouri by U.S. News and World Report. Months before that study was released, Vision Joplin 2022 was meeting with community members on how to address the health and wellness issues that were viewed as challenges in our community. One major issue that came up was teens continuing to get addicted to nicotine despite what had been a long decline in addiction rates. The other issue was clean indoor air. Each of those issues seemed like easy ones for our City Council to address. So, our goal became to present the City with the citizens’ request to pass ordinances that would move the legal age in the city for purchase of nicotine products up from 18 to 21. Teens 18, 19, and 20 who use tobacco are much more likely to become lifelong nicotine addicts who face health issues and have a shorter life span. Young people who use e-cigs or chew may not be able to realize the long-term life costs of those decisions until it is too late. As a society, we need to make sure that we protect our young people and not let profits be placed before public safety.
The other ordinance we proposed was to pass a clean indoor air act that would prohibit smoking in public places and spaces. Secondhand smoke is full of poisons and cancer-causing substances. Workers (mainly waitresses) who spend an 8-hour shift in a smoky business are being force-fed more toxic substances than many chain smokers. The medical community and even the Surgeon General has clearly stated there is NO safe level of secondhand smoke.
These issues are not limited to Joplin, but the solution can start here. Joplin is a regional leader in medicine, business, entertainment, arts and many other areas. Vision Joplin 2022, who is made up of over 150 community members, has formally asked the Joplin City Council to be the leading force that starts what we hope to be a regional health initiative.
Our plan is to continue to promote public awareness of this issue, to visit with City Council members and candidates, and to keep this issue in the public spotlight. The time is NOW! There is an old saying: “The best time to plant a tree is 100 years ago. The second-best time is now!” From our work in the community – it is clear citizens do not want to be known for and live in the “least healthy city in Missouri.” For Vision Joplin 2022, we want to work alongside City Council to encourage and provide support where necessary. The community has spoken, and they want clean air!
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