Matt Huber bummed his first cigarette at 19, and said that he was addicted by 21. For the past two decades, he has been trying to quit on and off.
"It is easily the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life," said Huber.
Huber said he believes a higher smoking age could have helped him from starting in the first place.
"I never had a drink till I was 21, so I probably would have never even attempted to have a cigarette 'til I was 21," said Huber.
Doctor Joseph Stilwill has been working with lung cancer patients at Menorah Medical Center for 10 years. He spoke in favor of raising the smoking age to 21.
“When patients start smoking, they're often maybe younger than 18, but some wait until they are 18, when it's legal,” said Stilwill.
Kansas City became one of the first cities in the Midwest to raise the smoking age to 21. Kansas City, Kansas, and Independence followed close behind. Overland Park’s City Council will take up the issue May 16.
A study done by the Institute of Medicine concluded raising the smoking age could result in 249,000 fewer premature deaths among people born between 2000 and 2019.
Ali Hoxie can be reached at email@example.com