Make it illegal for teenagers to smoke
RE: Ontario bans youth from tanning beds — Oct. 10
I was ecstatic to see that a bill banning youth from tanning beds passed unanimously in the Ontario legislature. Malignant melanoma causes more than 1,000 deaths per year in Canada.
But it's baffling that 20 times as many people die each year from lung cancer, and smoking is still a legal hobby for youth and children to pursue. It's illegal to give or sell a cigarette to anyone under 19, but they can smoke 'em if they got 'em. And, somehow, they always manage to get them.
Tanning beds can be habit-forming for some, but smoking is physically addictive. If tobacco producers can get them when they're young, they can own them for life. If we can pass legislation to prevent youth from starting until their brains are mature enough to make good decisions, then we can make a huge dent in the leading cause of preventable deaths.
We've tried stopping the flow through various regulations at stores, and it's proved minimally effective. If we really care about our youth, we will make it illegal for anyone under 19 to smoke. Teenagers smoking in public should be fined the way they would if they were caught drinking in public.
And then we'd really be saving their skins.
Marie Snyder Waterloo
If you agree, take a minute to tell your MPP (Catherine Fife's link is here)!
ETA - My 17-year-old son took offence at the suggestion that teenagers have immature brains, but I'm using this study as my backing. There it is.