Emphasizing that smoking remains the leading preventable cause of premature disease and death in the United States, a recent report from the surgeon general stresses the need to redouble our efforts to eradicate this epidemic, and especially to prevent young people from starting ["Eye on smoke law impact," News, Jan. 29].

Suffolk County's proposed law to raise the legal smoking age to 21 is right on the mark. Each year, smoking kills nearly 500,000 adults, at a cost of $289 billion in direct medical care and other costs such as lost productivity.

Passage of this law would prevent many of our youth from becoming sad statistics and maintain Suffolk's standing as a leader in this vital public health issue.

Claire Millman, Plainview

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the Alliance for Smoke-Free Air, an advocacy group.

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