3 states pass tobacco 21 laws in 3 weeks
In the span of under 21 days this summer, three states raised the legal minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21, displaying the momentum of a tobacco control strategy that has only recently seen widespread adoption.
As many as 75 percent of Americans, including most smokers, support a minimum age of 21 for purchasing tobacco.
The number of states and localities passing these laws has risen sharply in just a few years. The first such law was adopted in Needham, Mass., in 2005. By 2013, only seven other localities had joined Needham. Three years later, more than 125 localities and Hawaii had followed suit, and that number has now more than doubled in just one year.
Only Congress can change the federal minimum age for purchasing tobacco—the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act prohibited the Food and Drug Administration from raising the minimum age above 18. However, states and some localities have the authority to set a higher minimum age of sale in their jurisdictions.
Here’s why it makes sense that more state and local governments are choosing to use their authority by passing tobacco 21 laws.