To the editor:

I am proud to live and work in the best town in Minnesota! I know that a lot of effort went into promoting Alexandria for this great honor and want to thank the Chamber of Commerce for the good work that will benefit our city and surrounding areas. Now we need to come together as a community and reduce the impact that tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, have on our youth.

Every single day we hear more about the vaping crisis and e-cigarette use that is jeopardizing the health of people across our nation. Minnesota has three confirmed deaths due to vaping and that number will likely continue to increase. With almost 95 percent of addicted adult smokers starting before age 21, preventing our youth from even starting is of utmost importance. Raising the age to 21 will decrease our youth's ability to buy tobacco and vape pods themselves or to access them through their friends.

Tobacco 21 is a national campaign aimed at raising the minimum legal age for tobacco and nicotine sales to 21. More than 50 Minnesota cities and counties have already raised the tobacco age to 21 putting the health of their communities first.

Let's join other progressive communities in Minnesota and show that we are indeed worthy of the title "The Best Minnesota Town." There's a saying that everyone deserves their own opinion, but not their own facts. The facts are clear and our kids deserve Alexandria to pass a law that will help protect them from a lifelong addiction to nicotine and the extreme dangers of vaping. In my opinion, and I'm sure in yours too, they are worth it.

Sue Luke

Alexandria, MN