Take Action – Support Tobacco 21 Legislation

It's simple math: Raising the minimum age for tobacco sales to 21 will dramatically reduce tobacco use for young adults and decrease the likelihood that they will become lifelong smokers.

Join Oral Health America (and many others) as we show our support for Tobacco 21 legislation across our nation; let's keep our teens & young adults healthy and tobacco-free.

How to Get Involved

Fact sheet, letter, and video created by Tobacco21.org

Understanding Tobacco 21 Legislation

What is Tobacco 21?

Tobacco 21 is legislation at a city, state, or national level that requires the legal purchasing age for tobacco to be 21 or older.

What is the current status of Tobacco 21?

Tobacco 21 legislation has passed in over 130 cities across 10 different states. On January 1, 2016, Hawaii became the first state in the nation to raise the minimum smoking age to 21.

In Congress, S.2100 was introduced to the Senate on September 29, 2015 and H.3656 was introduced to the House on September 30, 2015. Both bills would prohibit the sale or distribution of tobacco products to individuals under the age of 21.

How could Tobacco 21 legislation affect teen and young adult tobacco use?

Cigarette sales to those under 21 account for only 2.12% of total sales. But, because 95% of smokers start by the age of 21, these are the very sales that get people hooked for a lifetime of smoking. What this means is that the impact on store owners is minimal, but the impact on teens is life changing.

Why is tobacco use an oral health concern for teens and young adults?

Many smokers move from experimental smoking to regular, daily use between the ages of 18 and 21; about 580 teens under the age of 18 become regular smokers each day, and 1-in-3 will eventually die as result.

Among teens in 2014, hookah use doubled and e-cigarette use tripled. Despite some existing misconceptions, hookah is addictive and harmful to users health--in fact, smoking from a hookah exposes an individual to more carbon monoxide and smoke than cigarette smokers are exposed to. E-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA and there is inadequate data on its long-term effects. 

Current Supporters of Tobacco 21 Legislation

S.2100 Author: Schatz, Brian [D-HI]

S.2100 Sponsors: Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT], Boxer, Barbara [D-CA], Brown, Sherrod [D-OH], Durbin, Richard [D-IL], Hirono, Mazie [D-HI], Markey, Edward “Ed” [D-MA], Reed, John “Jack” [D-RI], Warren, Elizabeth [D-MA], Whitehouse, Sheldon [D-RI]

H.3656 Sponsors: Diana DeGette [D-CO] & Mark Takai [D-HI]

Endorsed By

The American Heart Association
The American Lung Association
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Academy of Pediatrics
Academic Pediatric Association
American Pediatric Society
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Veterans (AMVETS)
American Public Health Association
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Trust for America’s Health
Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine
Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs
First Focus Campaign for Children
Pediatric Policy Council
Society for Pediatric Research
Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations
Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment
Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL)
Hawai‘i Medical Service Association
Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i.

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