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IS THE LEGAL SMOKING AGE … UP IN SMOKE?

Rare moment of bipartisanship.

A top Republican & Democrat join forces to raise the legal age of buying tobacco products in America.

Is 21 better than 18?

Current Events

Backstory: The Move to 21

  • May 2019: Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) & Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduce a bill to raise min. age to buy tobacco products (includes e-cigs) to 21.
  • 2016: Hawaii is the first state to increase the buying age for tobacco products to 21.
  • 14 states have passed laws to raise age to 21; some not enacted yet. Texas could be next.
Current Events

Why 21?

  • 2015 study found raising the legal tobacco age to 21 *could* REDUCE tobacco use by 12% & smoking-related deaths by 10%
  • WHY? 90% of daily smokers started before age 19 and most high school teens are not in social circles with those 21 & older (which may mean less peer pressure, fewer “friends” to purchase tobacco products).

 

Current Events

BIG PICTURE

Trend = more use, not less.

  • Last year, about 3 out of 10 high schoolers used tobacco products (including e-cigarettes).
  • From 2017 to 2018, use of tobacco products (including e-cigarettes) jumped by 29% for middle school students.
  • Smokers die 10 years earlier on average than non-smokers (CDC).
Current Events

“We urge strong bipartisan support for as written, and we call on lawmakers to reject any effort to add language that would weaken its impact or benefit tobacco companies.”

American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown on the bipartisan bill introduced in Congress last week. Some tobacco companies have supported local/state bills raising the purchase age of tobacco; critics say they do so because these bills have fewer penalties & restrictions.
Current Events

It's not just the government. Starting July 1, Walmart and Sam's Club will raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes to 21. In September 2019, Walgreens will do the same.

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