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Vermont Law Raising Tobacco Sales Age to 21 Goes into Effect Sunday, September 1

For members of the media seeking to schedule Lung Association interviews, contact Jen Solomon at 516-680-8927.

(September 1, 2019) - Williston, VT

For more information please contact:

Jennifer Solomon
[email protected]
(516) 680-8927

A new law goes into effect today, Sunday, September 1, 2019, throughout the State of Vermont, raising the age of sale of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21. The American Lung Association applauds state lawmakers for passing the law, known as Tobacco 21, that will prevent and reduce tobacco use, address the youth vaping epidemic and save lives.  

“Today Vermont officially joins the growing number of states across the nation raising the age of sale of tobacco products to 21. Congratulations to Governor Phil Scott and the members of the Vermont legislature for their leadership in protecting Vermont’s youth from beginning a dangerous addiction to tobacco,” said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “As students head back to classrooms this week, parents and teachers will know that the State of Vermont is taking steps to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic and prevent tobacco use  The Lung Association will continue the fight for Tobacco 21 laws across the country, and we are proud celebrate this win in Vermont as a milestone for statewide public health.” 

Every day, close to 2,500 youth under 18 try their first cigarette and more than 400 kids become regular daily smokers. Two-thirds of 10th grade students and nearly half of 8th grade students say it is easy to get cigarettes. According to a National Academy of Medicine report, younger kids often rely on older friends, classmates and peers to buy their tobacco products. Because students typically do not reach 21 years old while still in high school, Vermont’s new law is expected to greatly reduce the number of high school students who have easy access to tobacco products. 

Vermont’s Tobacco 21 law was introduced by State Senators Virginia Lyons and Deborah Ingram, following a December 2018 announcement by the U.S. Surgeon General alerting the public that youth e-cigarette use had reached epidemic levels. According to the announcement, e-cigarette use increased by a staggering 78 percent among high school students from 2017 to 2018. The report warned that this dramatic change in youth tobacco use could set the stage for another generation of Americans addicted to tobacco products and ultimately more tobacco-caused death and disease. The Vermont legislature passed the bill in April and was signed by Governor Scott on May 16, 2019. To date, 18 states (including Vermont) have taken the important step to protect their kids against this threat by raising the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to 21.

Elizabeth Hamlin, Director of Advocacy in Vermont for the American Lung Association, said, "With over 18 percent of Vermont's high school students reporting use of tobacco products, there is no question that the new Tobacco 21 will make a difference in the lives and overall wellness of Vermont’s students.  It also serves as a reminder to parents and the wider community that all tobacco products can be harmful and carry significant health impacts.”

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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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