July 9, 2015

American Adults Support Age 21 or Older Law to Purchase Tobacco Products

Three out of 4 American adults—including 7 in 10 cigarette smokers—favor raising the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to 21, according to an article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine this week.

In most states, the minimum age of sale for tobacco is 18. But, in Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey and Utah, the minimum age of sale is 19. Hawaii just passed a law prohibiting sales of tobacco products to people younger than 21. Additionally, several cities and counties across the U.S. have adopted laws raising the minimum age to 21.

“Raising the minimum age of sale to 21 could benefit the health of Americans in several ways,” said Brian King, Ph.D., acting Deputy Director for Research Translation in CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, in a news release. “It could delay the age of first experimenting with tobacco, reducing the likelihood of transitioning to regular use and increasing the likelihood that those who do become regular users can quit.”

Data for the study, “Attitudes toward Raising the Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco among U.S. Adults,” originated from an online survey of U.S. adults aged 18 and older.

According to the 2014 Surgeon General Report, the tobacco industry aggressively markets and promotes its products and continues to recruit youth and young adults as new consumers. People who begin smoking at a young age are more likely to become addicted, to progress to daily use, to smoke more as they grow into adulthood, and to have trouble quitting

CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health this week published two other tobacco-related articles in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine:

  • Disparities in smoking-related mortality among American Indians/Alaska Natives
  • National and State-Specific Sales and Prices for Electronic  Cigarettes—United States, 2012-2013

Read all the articles here.


Hawaii First State to Raise Legal Tobacco Use Age to 21

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