Feb 12, 2021 7:00pm

Why Tobacco Policy through No Minor Sale

Hello, my fellow New Mexicans! My name is Kris Melendez. I’m currently a sophomore attending Gadsden High School located in Anthony, NM. This is my first year in Evolvement. Evolvement works towards a decrease in the use of harmful and addictive tobacco in New Mexico, being the largest youth engagement movement in the state. Through Evolvement, I work on the No Minor Sale Campaign. 

As many of you can assume, the use of tobacco products, especially flavored tobacco products, is pretty common amongst teens like me, which is why stronger policies need to be put in place. Because of this, the No Minor Sale Campaign has begun working on restricting flavored tobacco products, such as mint and menthol.

All too often, I’ve witnessed my peers spend their time and money on these flavored tobacco products, usually getting them from others in the community. Some have even asked me if I would like to try it out for myself! Specifically, I’ve been offered flavors like cotton candy, watermelon, donut, and others via vape pen. My peers often claim that vaping isn’t as bad as traditional cigarettes, but it is still far from safe.

A ban on flavored tobacco products would lessen the number of lifelong tobacco users since these flavors are often what piques the interests of teens who are more susceptible to forming new habits. Despite being a fairly new member, No Minor Sale has given me the opportunity to attend their meetings and learn more about how addictive these flavored tobacco products are and how enticing they can be for many of my peers.

Evolvement has truly opened my eyes about the use of flavored tobacco products in our schools, how terribly it affects its users, and how we, as New Mexicans, could make a change. Strengthening policies against these excruciatingly harmful products would help hundreds of youth like me avoid, get out of, or simply inform others of these hard-to-break habits that would lead into adulthood. My fellow New Mexicans, this is our time to restrict/ban flavored tobacco product sales so that our youth can have a healthier and brighter future. Thank you.

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