Studies have shown a 50 percent reduction in the number of teens who smoke cigarettes can cut marijuana use by 16 to 28 percent
Fourteen Massachusetts towns have raised the age to purchase cigarettes to 19, some to 21 in an effort to stop high school students from smoking. New York City is the first major city to raise the cigarette sales age to 21. Lindsay Doyle, President of Nipmuc’s Student Against Destructive Decisions (S.A.D.D.), went before the Upton of Board of Health last night to request Upton follow this trend but she was met with hesitation and resistance.
Committee Chair Desjardins and member Robinson believed the studies Miss Doyle presented showing towns like Needham who have seen a drop in teen smoking by 50% since raising the cigarette sales age to 21 were not valid. Robinson and Desjardins also feel that service men should be able to smoke.
Miss Doyle presented to the board that teens are having their 18-year-old classmates who are legal buy smokes for them. Moving the age to 19 or older would remove the buyer from the school and have impact on the accessibility. Member Al Holman believed that was a valid point and felt comfortable with discussing raising the age to 19. Member Robinson disagreed saying, “We don’t have the where with all to be the tobacco police.” Robinson expressed concerns about the tax revenue asking who would make up that money.
The meeting ended with the board agreeing to discuss this further and would get back to Miss Doyle at a later date. Under state law, local health boards have the power to enact regulations that are tougher than state and national laws.
Miss Doyle told Upton Daily this is more than about smoking cigarettes. Studies have shown a 50 percent reduction in the number of teens who smoke cigarettes can cut marijuana use by 16 to 28 percent. Needham saw a 50% reduction in teens who smoke after raising the purchase age. “If we could do that here in Upton we would be on the right path to potentially reduce drug use and get students on a path to live a cleaner lifestyle,” said Doyle. “It would be a great first step.”
Editor’s note: Lindsay Doyle, a junior at Nipmuc Regional High School, is the daughter of Upton Daily editor Jennifer Doyle.