The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Teen Smoking -- Will Raising the Minimum Sale Age Protect Our Youth?

Teen Smoking

New York City recently announced that they are raising the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. The new law will become effective in six months. The reason for the change is to save young lives. More than 19,000 NYC high students under 18 smoke, and it remains the leading cause of preventable death in all age groups in New York City.

According to NYC's Health Promotion and Disease Prevention department, the statistics seem to more than justify the new law. Here are just a few published by the city's health department.
  • When Needham, MA raised the tobacco sale age to 21 in 2005, it resulted in a decline of over 50 percent of high school students smoking from 2006 to 2012.
  • One estimate predicted a decrease of smoking by 67 percent in the 14-17 age group, and a decrease of 55 percent in the 18-20 age group by raising the sale age to 21.
  • New Yorkers agree with the decision. Two-thirds are in favor of the new law, and 60 percent of this group are smokers themselves.
Not only will more minors not be able to purchase tobacco products, but the law will include increased penalties for stores who sell tobacco products to minors, raising the price on a pack of cigarettes to $10.50, and disallowing tobacco discounts.

Will it work? It has been effective in other areas. At least two-thirds of New Yorkers hope it will work there, too.
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