I am now 75 years old, but many years ago, I smoked for 10 years when I was young. Back then it was cool and most of us smoked. We didn’t know then what we absolutely know now.

Approximately 96 percent of smokers began smoking before the age of 21, as I did. We now know that nicotine exposure during childhood and adolescence actually rewires brain development, predisposing young people to further addiction and disrupting learning, memory development and attention for the short and long term

Sadly, Colorado has the highest rate of youth use of e-cigarettes in the nation, and Pitkin County schools have some of the highest use rates in the state.

Cigarette manufacturers distorted facts and lied to the public about the dangers that they knew full well. Eventually, they paid out over $245 billion in settlements as a result of their insidious efforts. These efforts are now focused almost entirely on our children.

We all need to do what we can, where we can, to limit this terrible habit. This is a medically dangerous and socially repugnant activity with the greatest consequences to our children and eventually society at large. We need to simply do what we can to discourage smoking, period.

Brent Miller