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Youth Group Takes on Tobacco at State Legislature

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tobaccofreeutah.org/youth.
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Around 250 members of a statewide youth anti-tobacco advocacy group had an educational course for state legislators Wednesday morning.

OUTRAGE and the Utah Tobacco Free Alliance presented about the dangers of tobacco to state legislators. The groups discussed new policies that would help protect youth from the dangers of tobacco use.

“(But) the biggest thing that the OUTRAGE students talk about to other youth is the importance of never starting, because if a person never starts using tobacco - never starts using alcohol or other drugs - then the potential for addiction is never there.”

Trudy Brereton, OUTRAGE Advisor, says tobacco use and nicotine addiction among youth is at a dangerous level and new policies are essential to fight the tobacco epidemic.

“The policies that we are educating people about is Rep. Craig Powell has a bill for the raising the minimum age of tobacco use of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to age 21. Then Rep. Paul Ray also has a bill to tax e-cigarettes, because right now there unregulated. And so we are here to educate people about the harmful effects of tobacco and we think these bills are a good idea.”

The use of e-cigarettes has doubled in Utah over the last 2 years among youth. Also, 20% of youth are illegally obtaining them from stores, according to the American Lung Association.