Across most of the United States, you cannot buy tobacco products until you are 18 years old. However, anti-tobacco advocates believe that raising the legal smoking age to 21 could go a long way to stop youth smoking. The CDC recently surveyed over 4,000 adults to find out how Americans feel about this issue and the results were clear. The vast majority of Americans want the legal smoking age increased to 21.
The new survey found that 50 percent of adults “strongly favor” increasing the minimum smoking age to 21, while 25 percent said they “somewhat favor” making the change. Only 11 percent answered that they would “strongly oppose” changing the legal smoking age and 14 percent said they would “somewhat oppose” the change. Overall, three out of four adults said they would be in favor of changing the minimum age limits.
Recently, Hawaii became the first state to take a big leap with an age change. Beginning on January 1, 2016, Hawaii will restrict all cigarette and ecig sales to individuals 21 years of age or older. The legal smoking age is currently set at 19 in Alabama, Alaska, Utah, and New Jersey. An additional 80 cities across the United States have already increased the minimum age to 21.
While the CDC claims that this change would have a positive impact on teen smoking, they have no real evidence to back these claims. There are no studies that show a difference in youth smoking after raising the age limits and in the cities that have already made a change, there are no reported changes to their youth smoking rates.
Would you be in favor of increasing the legal age to buy tobacco products? Do you think it’s fair to raise the age to 21?