Legal Age to Purchase Tobacco

In the majority of states, a person that is 18 years of age can buy tobacco legally. In Alabama, Utah, New Jersey, and Alaska, people must be 21 years of age to purchase tobacco products.

Statistics on Smokers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bout 18% of the adult population use cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookahs, and cigars. That equals about 42 million people in the United States.
According to the data available to the Attorney General this means that about 5.6 million people will die prematurely from tobacco related diseases.
The majority of smokers, roughly 95% of them began to smoke before they reach the age of 21.

Raising the Legal Buying Age to 21

By raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21 it would make it harder for teens to buy tobacco, and would reduce the number of people who begin to smoke. Most people who reach the age of 21 without starting a tobacco habit will never form the habit.

Opposition to Raising the Legal Age

Many people are actually opposed to raising the legal age for purchasing tobacco products. People use the same argument against raising the legal age to buy tobacco that they used when the legal age to purchase alcohol was raised to 21. These people believe that since the United States allows people 18 of age to be considered adult enough to join the armed forces those same people should be considered adult enough to choose whether they want to use tobacco products, or drink alcohol.
This thought process is based on the fact that soldiers risk their lives to protect their country. The trouble with this train of thought is the fact that cigarette smoking causes a 50% higher mortality rate among users, and thankfully the number of soldiers that die due to their enlisting is only a fraction of that number.

What can be done?

People need to be educated about the number of lives that raising the legal age to buy tobacco can potentially save. When the public is made aware of the numbers of lives that will be saved, the amount of money that will be saved because it will not be spent on tobacco related illnesses, and the increased productivity of the country because non-tobacco users do not miss as much wok as tobacco users, they will rally to raise the legal age to 21.
Posters that state the positive facts of postponing the age when people can start to legal acquire tobacco and placing those posters in schools, doctor’s offices, and all public buildings.
The only way we are going to be able to conquer the smoking addiction in the United States is to stop people from becoming addicted. The only way we will stop people from becoming addicted is to allow them to mature more before they have the opportunity to buy tobacco products.