The No Minor Sale Campaign and Creating a Tobacco-Free Future
My name is Emilia Coombs. I am a sophomore at Arrowhead Park Early College High School in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I have been a member of Evolvement, a renowned statewide youth engagement program, for two years. As part of Evolvement, I have been working on tobacco prevention through the No Minor Sale campaign, which works on ending the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors of New Mexico. I am so excited to say that the policy that the No Minor Sale campaign has been advocating for in order to end tobacco sales to minors has been signed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and will be effective next year on January 1st, 2021! We did it! The Tobacco Products Act is going to help stop the tobacco industry from targeting children and will help reduce illegal tobacco sales to minors.
The Tobacco Products Act will help end illegal tobacco sales to minors for many reasons. To mirror recent federal policy, it will raise the state minimum legal sales age to 21 which gives young adults more time to mature before making the important decision of whether or not they should use tobacco products.
In addition, the Tobacco Products Act includes statewide tobacco retail licensing which is a huge step forward in New Mexico. It is super important to have strong policies like this because it enforces important laws and guidelines in order to protect people. This policy, specifically, protects minors from the dangers of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Retail licensing guarantees up-to-date information on what stores are selling tobacco products and where they are located in New Mexico which helps better monitor them. Equally important, statewide retail licensing will require tobacco retail stores to renew their license every year. Another component is that it will help make sure stores do not sell to minors because store owners will be punished instead of clerks who sell to youth or youth who attempt to purchase tobacco products. Lastly, future tobacco retail stores will be unable to open within 300 feet of a school.
This policy stops the tobacco industry from taking advantage of children. Nearly 90% of tobacco users start as a minor, so by helping stop minor sales, this policy will help create a tobacco-free future. It will save my generation from the dangers of tobacco which will make our lives so much better. So many youth become addicted to tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and I want to end that thread. Sadly, 1 in 3 tobacco users die from tobacco-related illnesses, and they deserve better. They deserve a life unharmed by tobacco products and the problems and illnesses it causes.
I work on the No Minor Sale campaign-- which has taught me how policy could save thousands of lives-- because I want to make a difference in my community by helping the youth of my generation decide to live tobacco-free. I hope you choose to support this policy to help create a tobacco-free future.