Study Finds America is Ready for 21-and-Older Tobacco Laws

A study released this week by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and East Carolina University found that in all nine regions of the country, a majority of adults supported increasing the minimum legal age for tobacco product sales to age 21.

Researchers reported their findings in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

In the study, researchers surveyed 4,880 adults aged 18 or older to learn their views on raising the minimum age of tobacco sales to 19, 20 or 21.

“With these findings, policy makers and public health advocates can move forward knowing that people in their states support raising the minimum legal age for selling tobacco products, and that this is an issue that is not viewed as partisan,” said Dr. Adam O. Goldstein, a University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member and professor in the UNC School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine, in a news release. “It seems to cross political lines, and it is one policy measure that the majority of those surveyed can agree on.”

The study comes as two states have recently moved to increase the legal age of tobacco sales to 21. Hawaii became the first U.S. state to make the change Jan. 1, and California followed suit earlier this year.

“With the strong support indicated in our data, I think we will continue to see strong momentum,” Goldstein said. “It appears likely that increasingly, lawmakers are going to be interested in doing this.”

The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute and the Food and Drug Administration Center for Tobacco Products.

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