Few of us want more government oversight of our lives, but when it comes to improving the health of our children, we stand tall in supporting such legislation.

Few can argue with the American Lung Association's treatise: Tobacco use is a serious health hazard, causing or worsening a wide range of adverse health effects, including lung cancer, respiratory infections, and asthma.

Adolescents and young adults are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of nicotine and nicotine addiction. While the use of tobacco may be enjoyable to some adults — and sadly youth — it just plain isn't good for their health or ours.

The Osage Beach Board of Aldermen has before it the question of whether the minimum age to purchase and possess tobacco products and vapor-producing e-cigarettes should be raised from 18 to 21. We think that's a good idea.

Who wants their child to become a smoker, or a chewer, or to use electronic cigarettes?

The argument that many young smokers obtain their tobacco products from older-age youth who buy the products legally is valid. And shame on any parent or adult who encourages our youth to use tobacco or e-cigs. Especially any adult who is guilty of the illegal purchase of such products for anyone under the legal age.

Raising the age to 21 could very well deter a teenager — or even a pre-adolescent child — from falling prey to tobacco. No, it won't stop everyone, but if it saves a life or reduces long-term health issues, then who can reasonably argue otherwise?

The onus would be on local police to monitor any abuses, and that would add to an already heavy work load. A solution would be to educate local businesses and hope they, too, see the benefits of good health over making another $4.

According to the American Lung Association, more than 2,600 kids try their first cigarettes and 600 kids become regular daily smokers every day. A third of those kids will die from smoking-related diseases.

Osage Beach has the opportunity to make a difference.

Few of us want more government oversight of our lives, but when it comes to improving the health of our children, we stand tall in supporting such legislation.

Eighty-one percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21. As the result of nicotine addiction, about three of four teen smokers end up smoking into adulthood.

Raising the legal age to 21 is the right thing to do.