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A Healthier Delaware: Raising tobacco sales age from 18 to 21

(March 8, 2019)

Delaware Governor John Carney announced his support for Senate Bill 25 that would raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. Four out of five adults who smoke became addicted before the age of 21. Therefore, the legislative goal is to protect youth from tobacco and nicotine addiction, which greatly increases the risk of lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and a whole host of diseases. Tobacco-related illnesses remain the leading cause of preventable death and disability in Delaware and nationwide, and costs Delawareans $532 million annually.

"A key component of Tobacco 21 legislation is the inclusion of e-cigarettes," said Deb Brown, Chief Mission Officer of the American Lung Association. "As stated in our 'State of Tobacco Control' report, the need for Delaware to take action to protect youth from tobacco is more urgent than ever, with youth e-cigarette use reaching epidemic levels due to a 78 percent increase in high school e-cigarette use from 2017 to 2018. The Lung Association is proud to stand with Governor Carney and Senator Townsend on this lifesaving legislation and our hope is that other state leaders step up and stand with us to save our next generation from a lifetime of tobacco addiction."

Cities and states that have implemented Tobacco 21 policies have found seen underage smoking rates drop by a third or more. An impressive statistic that will eventually lead to longer lives, less disease and fewer healthcare costs.

Learn more about Tobacco 21 laws nationwide.

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