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Your letters: Prevent new smokers by raising tobacco purchase age

We could save 30,000 Minnesota kids from becoming smokers over the next 15 years in one step — by raising the tobacco purchase age to 21. Thirty thousand Minnesota youth and young adults could start their adult lives without an expensive, deadly addiction. I hope we can all support this worthwhile goal. The work starts with our community. I'm glad to see Otter Tail County considering raising the tobacco sale age to 21, a clear message our community puts young people ahead of tobacco industry profits. Big Tobacco targets 18-to-21-year olds. They use candy flavoring, aggressive advertising and giveaways to lure the next generation of customers. Unfortunately, their efforts are paying off. For the first time in a generation, rates of tobacco use increased among Minnesota students in 2017. We can't sit back and watch the future leaders of our communities succumb to addiction. As a volunteer for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, I am personally devoted to tobacco prevention. My grandmother started smoking in her teens and continued until her death. She told our family we should never smoke. She tried to quit many times. She was diagnosed in 2013 with esophageal cancer and passed away six months later. I tell my grandma's story to my teenage children and others so they understand the importance of preventing of tobacco addiction. Join me in standing up for our youth and our health. Otter Tail County can show bold leadership by passing Tobacco 21. Our future depends on it.

Kayla Mattson, American Cancer Society Advocate