Northern Michigan health official honored for advocacy work
A Northern Michigan Health official is being recognized for his efforts to help to raise the immunization rate in Michigan and his progress in raising the smoking age.
Dr. Joshua Meyerson is the Medical Director for the Health Department in Northwest Michigan and the recipient of the Jean Chabut Health Policy Champion award. He helped start the Tobacco 21 program. It promotes an increase the age to use tobacco products. Meyerson said setting the age at 21 would reduce the number of people with smoking-related illnesses.
“We know that most people start smoking in their adolescent years. So if we can postpone that time when they try or use nicotine. There’s very few people who start smoking after the age of 21. Almost nobody chooses to start a lifetime of addiction”.
Meyerson said Tobacco 21 is already enforced in a couple communities across Michigan. Hawaii and California have similar laws.
He said traditionally when people think vaccinations, they think of babies and toddlers.
“Just because you turn 18 doesn't mean you don't need vaccines anymore. There’s the flu vaccine and the pneumonia vaccine and there’s plenty of other vaccines that are appropriate for adults too. So, I try to promote that and educate people so that they are aware of these products and things they can do to improve their health”.