Better East Texas: Texans and Tobacco

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Texans have always been independent and proud – oftentimes going against the grain of pop culture and other societal pressures. If you had to pick an image for Texas perhaps the lone cowboy would come to mind. Or, could it be the Marlboro Man – the lone cowboy from the marketing campaign of cigarette companies in years gone by.

If you have that image now, there is another image, a movement that is starting to form that the Texas legislature may have to address. And that is the movement to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to age twenty-one across the state. San Antonio has already passed a local ordinance to raise the the age to 21 and other cities may follow suit.

But many cities, specifically some in East Texas, feel the state needs to take this on or leave it alone. If local cities tried to enact these rules, enforcement would be geographically difficult. But the emerging reason behind this movement is that studies have shown the human brain is still developing late into our teens and tobacco use becomes even more addictive when a developing brain is near.

Now, twenty-one is not a magic number but it is hard to ignore the evidence. This movement includes e-cigs as well, and you don’t have to look far to see the targets of some of the flavors of e-liquids including bubble gum, smores, cherry cola and others.

This cause is worth a serious look in the state house because the marketing and impact on young people has changed, and not for the better.

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