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Lung cancer concerns may raise Louisiana's smoking age

From the plains north of Baton Rouge to the Mississippi River Delta, the Bayou State holds outsized risks to the respiratory systems of its citizens. Louisiana's rates of lung cancer incidence are towards the top of U.S. state rankings. Many blame the chemical industry that once thrived on inland parts of the Mississippi River Valley and left a legacy of pollution still being managed.

Other sources of fumes that have been associated with increased chances of lung cancer include motor vehicle exhaust and smoking cigarettes. The rising popularity of vaporized nicotine oils has not come with a reduction in risks for cancer. This is one of the reasons for a new push to raise the legal smoking age in Louisiana to 21 years.

On top of lung cancer, the development of young people's brains is at risk. "The adult brain isn't really fully formed until around 21, so the introduction of addictive substances, particularly smoking, the earlier you start the worse the effects are," according to a health educator.

Legislators are hoping to change trends in health care costs that end up taking billions of dollars out of the coffers in Baton Rouge. This comes along with some lawmakers in Washington advocating for a national smoking age set at 21 years.

People who have suffered lung cancer due to pollution attributed to someone else may have a case for financial damages in civil court. This may include reimbursement of some of the many medical expenses and compensation for time and emotional security lost during recovery. An attorney can consult with victims and their families on these options.

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