Letter — Town comes together to protect youths

To the editor:
On Monday, the Trumbull Town Council passed an ordinance to raise the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products to 21. Resolution TC 27-163 was passed in an almost unanimous (less one abstention), and most importantly, bipartisan fashion.

This legislation is a testament to what we can do in Trumbull when we put the interests of our residents first, and when we break down silos and collaborate across departments. We took a giant step forward in promoting the well-being of Trumbull residents thanks to the support of the Health Department, Board of Health, Trumbull Police Department, First Selectman’s Office, and Republican and Democratic members of the Town Council.
Here in Trumbull, we’re fortunate to have the leadership of the Trumbull Partnership Against Underage Drinking and Drugs (TPAUD). Every two years TPAUD surveys middle- and high school students, with the most recent survey data coming from 2017.

According to the 2017 survey, vaping is the only substance where recent use rates increased among 7th-12th graders in Trumbull. The survey found that lifetime vaping rates are as high as nearly 50% for 12th grade. According to this same survey, 15% of 7th-12th grade students reported vaping within the past 30 days, with past 30-day use reported by 30.7% of 12th graders.
And while all of this is frightening, the ease with which students believe they can obtain vaping products is perhaps the most disheartening: 24% of 7th/8th graders and 74% of Trumbull High students reported that vaping products are easy to get.

This ordinance builds on the work of TPAUD, the First Selectman’s Health and Wellness task force, and the prevention work from our Health Department. As we see the dramatic increase in the use of vaping products, this is a common-sense action to support the health and wellness of our town’s youth. We’re proud to add Trumbull to the list of five other municipalities in Connecticut who have also passed Tobacco 21 legislation, and look forward to working with our neighboring communities to do the same.
Ashley Gaudiano, District 4
Eric Paulson, District 3
Paul Verbitsky, District 1