Saturday, May 25, 2013
A rude awakening has occurred when our statistics showed an increase in teen smoking in Maine ("Smoking rates rise again for teenagers," June 20). Congratulations to those who have worked so hard to achieve lowering teen smoking, but an obvious end is not here.
Katelyn McKay, 17, smokes near the Preble Street Teen Center. McKay says she started illegally smoking in sixth grade to fit in. A reader says raising the legal age to 21 would benefit younger smokers, too.
Kat Franchino/Staff Photographer
It is evident that quitting (or never starting) is not self-directed. I'm not sure why, but it appears that because of the age factor, the rebound effect, peer pressure, etc., that teen smoking is a long-standing issue. Let's raise the smoking age to 21.
There was great debate when MADD got together after several teens died of alcohol-induced auto accidents and ultimately raised the drinking age to 21. This is the same matter except for a slower death. A few other states have done it. It virtually eliminates teen smoking.
Any 19- to 20-year-old not legally allowed to smoke would be a nonsmoker. We would have a great record of very low teen smoking. Let's raise that smoking age.
I have worked diligently against smoking for over 25 years at Maine Medical Center .
The final result shows that a great percentage of health care is due primarily or secondarily to the results of smoking. If those teens were not legally allowed to smoke, the effects on our health care costs would drop dramatically in the next generation.
We would eliminate that tender age of influence, two years of temptation. My example to them was after I witnessed an 18-year-old at a local high school buying 10 packs of cigarettes after school and going to his car and tossing them to the other students in the car, who appeared to be under 18.
The store is not liable, and the driver had no accountability at the time, but I witnessed it.
The girl in the article who stated her reason to start was peer pressure would not have that reason anymore. Let's help our youth by taking our most effective, cost-saving step and say smoking is legal only at age 21.
Route 1 stop sign a rude act by Camden
Vacationing in Camden, I have some understanding of traffic bottlenecks in Wiscasset. Here in Camden, we have the most bizarre intersection/traffic control situation ever. For those not familiar with it, let me elaborate.
It is not bad enough that downtown Camden has pedestrian crosswalks about every 60 feet on Route 1, but they have installed this peculiar traffic control system on the north edge of town, as if they want to make it easy to leave town southbound but near impossible to enter town northbound.
At the intersection of Route 1 north and Union Street, they have erected a stop sign right in the middle of the street facing northbound traffic, with a sign noting that oncoming and intersecting traffic does not stop.
The intersecting traffic from Union Street (not even a state or county highway) would be classified as tertiary traffic at best. More likely would be only one-fourth as important as Route 1 northbound traffic.
I can think of numerous reasons not to do this and not one reason why one should do this. This weird traffic controls system: 1) wastes gas, 2) pollutes the environment, 3) wears out cars and trucks with unnecessary idling and 4) just generally annoys the majority of the traveling public.
On a late-morning walk, I went by this odd intersection and noted cars and trucks backed up nearly a fifth of a mile. And the summer travelers are not even here yet!
Would someone please explain to this hillbilly from North Carolina just why the Maine Department of Transportation allows Camden to bottleneck highway traffic in favor of a relatively unimportant city street?
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