Teenagers don’t share lawmakers’ optimism

Despite Congressmen and even President Obama declared they have been sure that the recently signed Tobacco regulatory bill would contribute to a substantial decline in smoking rates, Maryland teenagers don’t think so.

The aforementioned bill, which was called Tobacco Control Act, was signed into law by President Barack Obama on June 22, becoming the landmark strictest anti-tobacco law in the history of the U.S. The legislation gives the American Food and Drug Administration the authority to oversee tobacco products. The regulations include severe restrictions on marketing and advertising tobacco products, banning terms “light”, “low tar” and “mild,” and demanding placement of bigger and more pictorial warnings.

Moreover, all the flavored cigarettes, except menthol are now prohibited too, since they are thought to be a source of temptation for teenagers, luring them to cigarettes.

However, the sweeping changes failed to impress those at whom they were mainly aimed/ Maryland teens, surveyed by local newspaper, said they do not believe the law would have an effect on teens, since flavored cigarettes are not the major problem.

“Believe me; I haven’t seen any teen, who picked up smoking because of cherry flavor,” admitted 20-year-old Adam Rumick, a nonsmoker of Annapolis.

Rumick and his girlfriend 19-year-old Kathy Peters, a nonsmoker, shared the same opinion that new legislation would not have much impact on reducing teen smoking rates, as the authorities consider, because the real reasons for smoking among teens are the desire to revolt and smoking environment.

James Simmons, a 21-year-old smoker of Baltimore, says that the legislation can even created an adverse effect, since teens are known for having a passion of breaking the rules. He admitted that the major factor in reducing smoking rates has been the enormous price of cigarettes, and if those prices have not deterred teens from smoking, nothing would help.

Smoker Daniel Henriquez, 20 used to smoke Camel Signature Frost, but currently they can hardly be found anywhere. He said despite loosing his favorite cigarettes, he would find another brand. He said he had no intention to give up in the nearest future and added that he has been of the opinion that such regulations like banning advertisements and placing larger warnings would have any substantial impact on young adults.

Debora Huebner, owner of the Tobacco Store in Eldersburg, said she has not seen much difference in sales before and after the legislation entered into effect.

“Teenagers will do what they want, as they always did,” she admitted.

Huebner mentioned that her younger patrons usually buy tobacco for rolling, whereas the majority of flavored cigarettes usually selling to elder smokers.

She also said that the major problem is that many shops sell tobacco products to minors without checking their age, and not small warnings, advertisements or candy flavorings..

However, public health officials are sure that the legislation would be effective. The Maryland Health Department spokesman said they expect the Tobacco Control Act to contribute to a 10 percent reduction in teen smoking rates within the next years.

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