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Verna Riffe B

Lung cancer is a very personal issue for me. Below is a copy of the letter I wrote to the Cleveland City Council regarding pending legislation that would impact the incidence of lung cancer:

During the next few weeks the members of the Cleveland City Council will be debating several tobacco-related proposals. I strongly encourage you to support two of those proposals: 1) raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21-years-old and 2) limiting the sale of flavored tobacco products to tobacco-only retailers in an attempt to get them out of convenience stores and places frequented by minors.

This is a very personal issue for me. My first love, my high school/college sweetheart died from lung cancer at age 49. My second love suffered from COPD, was forced to retire in his early forties and died from lung cancer at age 62. And my last and most enduring love, my husband, died from colon cancer at age 45. Smoking was a major factor in all three of their cancer diagnoses. All three started smoking in their early teens.

By passing this legislation, you have the opportunity to limit the access teenagers have to potentially deadly tobacco products. As a former employee of the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association and a current member of the Cleveland Regional Leadership Council of the American Lung Association and as someone who still grieves for the loves of my life, I strongly encourage you to do so.

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