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County health educator supports higher tobacco age in Wisconsin

Brad Williams

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May I see your ID? 

That question could be a key to reducing the amount of vaping and tobacco use by teenagers in Wisconsin. 

An Assembly committee has heard testimony on a plan to raise the purchase age for tobacco and nicotine products to 21. 

Judi Zabel of the La Crosse County health department says one way to crack down on smoking by young people is to get stores to be less willing to sell tobacco to underage customers.

“So those clerks are educated, the business owners are educated how to appropriately look for an ID,” said Zabel. “It’s the first step in a number of steps that help prevent access.”    

La Crosse Rep. Jill Billings attended that Assembly hearing and suggested putting restrictions on how vaping products are sold or packaged to appeal to children.

Backers of the bill believe that checking IDs of tobacco buyers would make vaping less appealing among teenagers.    

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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