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Proposal: Stop Young Adult Nicotine Addiction

By Age 21 nearly 95% of smokers had already picked up their smoking addiction (TheTruth.com, n,d.) This shows that we are in dire need of a revision on our currently implemented smoking laws. There is a nicotine epidemic sweeping the nation. It is our duty as citizens to protect our youth from the harmful long reaching effects of Nicotine Addiction. 

The Issue

Problem Defined

Our country has been fighting nicotine addiction since 1881, when James Bonsack invented his cigarette rolling machine. (History Extra, 2014).  Since then, nicotine addiction has grown and has caught the attention of young adults through cigarettes, vape pens, and juuls, due to teenage-targeted advertising.

Background
Expand all bullets
1.
Estimated 5.6 million US youth will die prematurely due to smokingMORE

Figure 1. Percentages of past month cigarette use among persons aged 12 to 17, by state: 2012 and 2013

"According to the Surgeon General, if current trends continue, 5.6 million U.S. youths who are currently younger than 18 years of age will die prematurely during adulthood because of their smoking." (SAMHSA.gov, n.d.)

2.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable deathsMORE

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (n.d), cigarette smoking is responsible for over 400,000 deaths per year in the United States alone.  Above is an image from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preventable_causes_of_death to help illustrate the issue

3.
Significant Rise in Tobacco Product Usage Among StudentsMORE

"The significant rise in e-cigarette use among both student populations has resulted in overall tobacco product use increases of 38 percent among high school students and 29 percent among middle school students between 2017 and 2018, negating declines seen in the previous few years." (fda.gov, n.d.)

4.
Increasing Consumption by the Youth Population has Further Elevated the Demand for Tobacco ProductsMORE

"The U.S. tobacco market size was USD 100.3 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow further over the forecast period." (Grand View Research, 2018). As Tobacco companies gear up for such a HUGE prospective market, why would they concern themselves with the health risks to which they are subjecting their users?

5.
Teens and Young Adults make up the majority of the smoking populationMORE

"Almost one in four high school seniors is a current (in the past 30 days) cigarette smoker, compared with one in three young adults and one in five adults." (Government Book Talk, n.d)

Sources
Go deeper
2.
Nicotine Addiction and Abuse

Jeffrey Juergens - Addiction Center (June 18, 2019)

https://www.addictioncenter.com/nicotine/

This website provides knowledge about the effects and dangers that nicotine addiction can cause. It also provides options to get help overcoming nicotine addiction. 

Authors


Katherine Bechter
- Allegany College of Maryland
I am a student at Allegany College of Maryland and an active American citizen. I am concerned with making my voice heard in my community to help make it a better place. I am currently pursuing a career in osteopathic medicine so I can help people, both physically and mentally.
Grace Cooper
- Allegany College of Maryland
​I am a Human Service major at Allegany College of Maryland. My hope is to get my degree so I can counsel teenagers and be a help to them throughout the trials of their life. Throughout this program I can get the required training and education that I will need to go into the Human Service field.
Diane McMahon
Associate Professor of Sociology - Allegany College of Maryland
I am a sociology professor at Allegany College of Maryland, which is located in Cumberland, MD. I also work as the Faculty Director of the Service Learning and Civic Engagement (SLCE) Center at the college. I have worked in a variety of professions in my past that focuses on helping the homeless. Most recently I was the director of a peace and justice organization in Pittsburgh.

I am a great supporter of the work of TheChisel.com because it helps raise up topics that students and community members can work on together, in a bi-partisan manner, to address.

The Solution

Proposed Actions
Expand all bullets
1.
Raise the Legal Tobacco Purchasing Age to 21MORE

We believe raising the minimum tobacco purchasing age to 21 will significantly decrease the amount of young adults addicted to nicotine.

2.
Enforcing Identification Upon Purchasing Tobacco ProductsMORE

A stricter enforcement of identification when purchasing tobacco products can ensure that underage smokers cannot acquire nicotine products. This preventative measure is already established, it simply needs to be further enforced.

3.
Educate our Youth About the Dangers of Nicotine AddictionMORE

Informing youth about the dangers of nicotine addiction at an early age can help to diminish the amount of tobacco product usage. 

Expected Results
Expand all bullets
1.
Decreased Amount of Young Adult SmokersMORE

If the purchasing age for tobacco products is raised to 21 we can expect a decrease in the amount of young adult nicotine addiction. According to TheTruth.com, "A town in Massachusetts made the minimum age to purchase tobacco 21 in 2005. Their smoking rate dropped almost triple the amount of the surrounding communities that did not pass the 21+ smoking law."

2.
Decreased Illegal Usage of Tobacco Products Among TeenagersMORE

By enforcing identification upon purchasing tobacco products, companies can ensure that underage users do not obtain nicotine products. This extra measure of safety can reinforce the laws already in place to prevent underage tobacco usage.

3.
Well-Informed Youth on the Dangers of Nicotine MORE

Educating our youth about the health problems that they could potentially face because of smoking, and the use of other tobacco products, can help them become more aware of the long-term effects of nicotine products.

Budget

The Cost of Nicotine Addiction Prevention is roughly $5,000

    This money will be used to administer and print fliers, provide information, and pay educators.

The Conversation

5 months ago
The role nicotine addiction played in my childhood helped me to establish a firm understanding of it's damaging results. My most prominent memory of my grandfather was that he smoked. I can still picture him sitting on the back porch in all kinds of weather with a cigarette in his hand. My family was aware of the impact of second hand smoking so I generally wasn't allowed to go out to him when he was smoking. Occasionally I would slip out and visit with him anyway. The smell of cigarette smoke was his most defining characteristic to me. He died when I was six. The time I spent with him was dominated by the presence of cigarettes. No one should live their lives like that, chained to their addiction.
5 months ago
Throughout my time in a workplace environment, I've seen multiple people who have let nicotine addiction take command over their lives. It's sad to see how something as small as a cigarette can have such a hold over someone. In my experiences of being around people addicted to nicotine, the addiction seems to always start because it relieves the user of stress that they are feeling. But there are much healthier and cheaper options for dealing with stress, and once an addiction starts it's very hard to break. My co-workers could barely go 2 hours without needing to "take out the trash" so they could smoke a cigarette. It's heartbreaking to watch people cause harm to themselves. This is why this topic is important to me and why I want to find a solution.

Cast your vote

The Proposal Stop Young Adult Nicotine Addiction needs your vote by December 19, 2020.
Time remaining: 8 months

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