14 LONGISLANDPRESS.COM • NOVEMBER 2020
POINT OF VIEW
BY SAM GONZALEZ
Suffolk County Legislator
Every day across this country, more
than 1,000 individuals die from
With vaping usage rates on the rise,
which has in turn resulted in increased
cigarette usage, our vulnerable youth
risks falling into the same toxic cycle of
nicotine addiction that has robbed so
many individuals of their future.
Of the daily deaths that have occurred
due to smoking, 90 percent of those
“Let us make the next generation the one that breaks
the chains of tobacco and nicotine addiction.”
deaths smoked their first cigarette by
the age of 18 years. One thing is clear
— the data shows that if you have not
smoked by age 25, you probably won’t.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services states that almost no one
starts smoking after age 25.
We have the unique opportunity to
protect the future of our children and
help take a crucial step in ensuring that
they do not fall into the same toxic and
addictive patterns that have cost too many
their lives. We can help accomplish
this by raising the smoking age in Suffolk
County to 25.
While this legislation has become controversial,
saving lives should not be.
In a report published by the Institute of
Medicine in 2015, raising the smoking
age to 25 will lead to significant and substantial
reductions in smoking. More
essentially, this proposed legislation
safeguards the health and well-being
of our communities within Suffolk by
preserving the future of our youth.
Today more than ever, the importance
of caring for our respiratory and overall
health cannot be emphasized enough.
As an elected official, I uphold the duty
to better the lives of residents residing
within the 9th Legislative District,
which includes parts of Brentwood,
Central Islip, and Bay Shore.
Through this legislation, we can
highlight the gravity and severity of
smoking cigarettes, but also take important
steps in limiting the number
of deaths and medical implications that
result from incessant cigarette usage.
This issue has the potential to affect all
individuals, and transcends party lines
or any other socioeconomic barrier —
prompting necessary action to better
protect our constituency.
The time for action is long overdue. Let
us make the next generation the one
that breaks the chains of tobacco and
nicotine addiction — something that
we can fulfill through bipartisan work
that puts the health of our constituents
in Suffolk first.
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