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A Push At Smoking Age


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Local governments nationwide are taking another step to end the smoking epidemic, including cigarettes and e-cigarettes, amid a flurry of studies showing a rise in e-cigarette use among teens despite overall youth tobacco use declining in recent years.

Nearly 350 cities across the United States have pushed the legal purchasing age of nicotine products to 21 years of age, instead of 18.

2015 study from the Institutes of Medicine found that raising the legal age for tobacco product purchase to 21 nationwide would result in “approximately 249,000 fewer premature deaths, 45,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer, and 4.2 million fewer years of life lost” for people born between 2000 and 2019, as well as “approximately 286,000 fewer preterm births, 438,000 fewer cases of low birth weight, and roughly 4,000 fewer sudden infant death cases among mothers age 15 to 49.” Most daily smokers – 90 percent – reportedly began smoking before the age of 19, according to the study. The widespread push of raising the tobacco-purchasing age comes almost 35 years after then-President Ronald Reagan lifted the drinking age from 18 to 21.

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