Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: LETTER: Murkowski for teen health

Letter to the editor: I would like to personally thank Sen. Lisa Murkowski for standing up to stop tobacco companies from targeting kids like me with candy-flavored products. Last month, she and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin introduced a bill that would place strong restrictions on electronic cigarette and cigar flavors.

As I told Sen. Murkowski when I visited her Washington, D.C., office in July, it’s not surprising how quickly Juul and other e-cigarettes have caught on at my high school in Nenana. E-cigarettes come in flavors like cucumber, mango, cotton candy and pop rocks — and research shows that 81 percent of kids who use e-cigarettes started with a flavored one.

More high schoolers in Alaska smoke e-cigarettes (15.7 percent) than cigarettes (10.9 percent). In addition, many (7.9 percent) use cigars, which come in sweet, kid-friendly flavors like chocolate and watermelon. Cigars can cause cancer and other health problems, and both cigars and e-cigarettes have nicotine, which is addictive and bad for young brains that are still developing.

We need strong legislation like the bill Sens. Murkowski and Durbin introduced before more of my classmates become addicted to flavored tobacco products. Help can’t come soon enough.

By:  Leena Robinson
Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner