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Letter: Ban tobacco sales under 21

British lawmakers have banned displaying cigarettes. The ban

British lawmakers have banned displaying cigarettes. The ban applies only in England and will be extended to smaller stores by 2015. (Dec. 9, 2008) Credit: Getty Images

I applaud Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) for wanting to ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 ["Jacobs steps up push for tobacco-sale ban," News, Nov. 11]. If trends in smoking initiation continue, smoking-related illness will kill about 5.6 million young people alive today, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Smoking is a leading cause of preventable death and disease in our country. Tobacco control policies, such as raising taxes on cigarettes and removing tobacco products from pharmacies, increase cessation rates and decrease youth initiation.

Working as a certified tobacco treatment specialist, I hear from patients who wish they hadn't had access to cigarettes as teenagers and young adults. Their lives are often filled with illness, regret and the difficult experience of trying to quit.

Christine Fardellone, East Meadow

Editor's note: The writer is a doctor of nursing practice.