May 20, 2019 – Tobacco and 21

May 17, 2019

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Anchor lead: What’s the likely impact of requiring tobacco product purchasers to be 21 or older? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Hawaii was the first US state to raise the age for buying tobacco products to 21, and several other states soon followed suit. Now there’s a movement afoot to institute a federal mandate. Michael Blaha, a tobacco regulation expert at Johns Hopkins and a cardiologist, comments.

Blaha: There’s an incredible energy around raising the age for purchasing tobacco products to 21 these days both at the state and the federal level. The idea is to make it a little more difficult for those young people to access these addictive tobacco products. They get addicted to nicotine at such a young age when they’re so vulnerable. By raising the age we might make an impact on this addiction to tobacco products. We do have some evidence that when you raise the age to buy tobacco products you see less sales to young folks of these cigarettes and other tobacco products and therefore we hope less addiction of these young people. :30

Blaha notes that some large national drugstore chains have also committed to cease selling vaping and other tobacco products, with an eye toward reducing access and addiction among vulnerable people. At Johns Hopkins, I’m  Elizabeth Tracey.

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