To the Editor:

Keeping Granite State youth healthy and safe is a continued priority for the 10 communities that the South Central NH Public Health Network serves.

Senate Bill 248, which would raise the tobacco sales age from 19 to 21, must be prioritized to protect the health of individuals, bring NH into compliance with the recently passed federal law that raises the minimum age for sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years, and help to reduce access by teens to such products. Critical federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant funding for NH is also dependent on compliance with prohibiting the sale or distribution of tobacco products to individuals under the legal age. States must show 20% or less of sales to minors each year to safeguard funding.

Science has proven an adolescent brain is highly vulnerable to the effects of addictive substances. Substances such as tobacco can have negative impacts on development, increase the risk for addiction, and lead to a wide range of adverse health effects, including cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and stroke.

The South Central NH Public Health Network has partnered with Derry Community Access Media, the Northern New England Poison Center, New Futures and the NH Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services to create a resource for legislators and community members with the information needed to inform passage of reasonable, enforceable legislation. The resource includes a video, facts, and discussion about vaping devices, e-juices, the medical and developmental concerns specifically around teen use, pending legislation, funding, and concerns around enforcement due to the current discrepancy between state and federal laws.

This resource is accessible at www.derrycam.org/vape and will be open to the public.

MacDonald, MPH | Substance Misuse Prevention Coordinator | katemacdonald@catsnh.org

Sue Centner | Substance Misuse Prevention Lead | director@catsnh.org

Supported by The Community Alliance for Teen Safety

 

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