041113br0770WState Senator Julie Morrison co-sponsored several new laws that will help encourage teenagers to make good health choices by making it more difficult to start unhealthy habits. The new laws:

- Prohibit children and teenagers from buying e-cigarettes

- Prohibit children and teenagers from using commercial tanning beds

- Create a task force to confront the problem of teen heroin use

“It’s our job as parents and community members to encourage young people to make good decisions about their future,” Morrison said. “Kids who start smoking or tanning before they are adults are more likely to end up with cancer, but many of them are too young to understand the long-term consequences of these dangerous choices.”

E-cigarettes are still a relatively new product. Initial research indicates that though they are likely less harmful than traditional cigarettes, they still contain nicotine and still increase the risk of various forms of cancer. People who use tanning beds are 75 percent more likely to develop melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – than everyone else. Making it more difficult for young people to use these products will help them make better choices about their health for years to come.

Another troubling problem facing young people – especially in well-to-do suburbs – is increased heroin use. According to a Chicago Tribune article, more and more young people are using heroin because it has become less expensive and new methods allow people to abuse the drug without using a needle. The new law creates a legislative task force to determine if new state laws or resources are needed to confront the growing incidence of teen heroin abuse.

“Heroin is a deadly, addictive drug,” Morrison said. “We need to do whatever we can to keep our young people from allowing it to destroy their lives.”