Tonight: Waseca City Council Introduces Ordinance To Combat Rising Teen Tobacco Use
(November 7, 2018) -
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Tonight, the Waseca City Council will introduce an ordinance that would raise the sales age of tobacco products from 18 to 21, known as Tobacco 21. The proposed ordinance will help reduce the teen tobacco use rate in the community.
This policy comes after a recent Minnesota Department of Health report revealed that the high school tobacco use rate increased for the first time in 17 years. Data shows that 26 percent of high school students used a tobacco product in the past 30 days and that one in five high schoolers use e-cigarettes.
“Kid-friendly flavors, heavy social media advertising and easy access to tobacco products has resulted in more youth becoming addicted,” said Elizabeth Heimer, specialist of health promotions for the American Lung Association in Minnesota. “Currently, local teens are getting these products from peers who are 18. If we raise the legal purchasing age to 21 in Waseca, it will decrease the accessibility of tobacco products. We need to do more to protect our youth from the death and disease that results from tobacco use.”
Studies show that there is wide support for and compelling facts in support of Tobacco 21, including:
- 95 percent of adult smokers start before age 21.
- Young people are more vulnerable than older adults to nicotine addiction, which can harm brain development.
- 75 percent of adults favor raising the tobacco age to 21, including 70 percent of current smokers and 65 percent of those aged 18-24.
- 15 Minnesota cities have passed ordinances raising the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21, including Minneapolis, St. Peter, North Mankato, Bloomington and Plymouth.
- Six U.S. states have passed ordinances raising the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21; they include California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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