Yesterday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill to raise the legal sales age of tobacco products to 21. The American Lung Association applauds state lawmakers for passing the law, known as Tobacco 21, which aligns Iowa law with federal law following President Trump signing into law a spending bill that, among many measures, raised the legal sales age for all tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old nationwide in December.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is as important as ever to pass tobacco control measures because people who smoke and vape are at a 2.4 times higher risk for severe complications than non-smokers. Any condition that potentially effects the lungs such as smoking or vaping, regardless of the ingredients inhaled, could play a role in making someone more susceptible to complications from the disease. We look forward to working with the legislature and Governor Reynolds on much-needed tobacco control measures including increasing the tobacco tax and increasing funding for Iowa’s tobacco control program,” said Kristina Hamilton, Advocacy Director for the Lung Association
Since nearly 95% of adult smokers report trying their first cigarette before the age of 21, raising the legal sales age can prevent young people from ever starting. According to the Iowa Youth Survey, 22.4% of 11th graders reported that they used e-cigarettes in 2018. This number more than doubled between 2016 to 2018. A National Academy of Medicine report states that 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, Iowa’s law will greatly reduce the number of high school students who have easy access to tobacco products.
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 education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.