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Douglas Frank Bolton, 53, died Sept. 16, 2018, surrounded by his family at his home in Metlakatla. He was born Aug.
8/20/2018
Safe kids

Let kids be kids.

With that, kids shouldn’t smoke.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski has introduced a bill to end marketing tactics that make tobacco products appealing to kids.

It’s the Stop Appealing Flavors in E-Cigarettes for Kids Act or the SAFE Kids Act.

More than 2 million teenagers used e-cigarettes in 2017, according to Murkowski. That’s a 653 percent increase since 2012. Three percent of adults use e-cigarettes; 12 percent of children use them.

“I have been alarmed at the rapid increase we have seen in the use of e-cigarettes by kids in Alaska,” says Murkowski. “Tobacco products, like e-cigarettes and cigars, have no place in the lives of our youth and should not be marketed to children, period.”

Alaska’s senior senator says that the anti-smoking education being provided in schools had been showing its effectiveness until the advent of e-cigarettes.

The risks of e-cigarettes aren’t completely identified as of yet. But they have the potential of increasing a kid’s inclination toward tobacco products later in life, and those health risks have been known for years.

The SAFE Kids Act would restrict the use of flavoring in e-cigarettes. E-cigarette manufacturers would have to prove to the Food and Drug Administration that their e-cigarette flavorings accomplish three things: 1. That they help adults quit smoking cigarettes; 2. That they don’t increase kids’ initiation of nicotine and tobacco products; and 3. That they don’t increase the risk of harm to the person smoking a flavored e-cigarette.

The bill completely bans the use of all flavors in cigars. Flavors, except menthol, was banned from cigarettes in 2009. Statistics show an increase in kids using cigars, and sales of flavored cigars increased almost 50 percent in the past 10 years.

Kids don’t need cigarettes. They don’t need the addiction that often lasts a long time and often occurs with cigarettes. They should be protected from both as long as they can be.

Murkowski’s bill takes the issue to the source of the problem. Nipping it there is one step. Continued education about smoking’s risks is the other.

Kids don’t need adults’ bad habits. Let them be kids.