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New Push in Arkansas to Raise the Age to Buy Tobacco

HARRISON, Ark. — According to statistics, Arkansas has one of the highest High School and adult smoking rates in the country.

Right now, there’s a push in Harrison to raise the legal age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21.

The initiative is called “Tobacco 21”, an effort that spans across the nation.

“There have been surveys that say about 76 percent of Arkansans support raising that age,” said Patrick Hunter, of the Boone County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, which supports the initiative. He says statistics reveal that 90-percent of all adult smokers start between the ages of 18 and 21.

“Overall, and I think this is a nationwide stat..that if we’re able to raise that age from 18 to 21, we could reduce smoking overall by 12 percent. That’s through the Institute of Medicine,” Hunter said.

The local group of supporters includes a group of Harrison High School students called “Ignite.”

The students recently went before a city council committee to get their voices heard on the issue.

“These are high school seniors often times you know they’re turning 18 years old. They’re seeing this used amongst their peers,” said Daniel Dillard, of the “North Arkansas Partnership for Health Education.”

A couple of smokers in Harrison shared their take on raising the age to buy tobacco products.

“I think it should be raised up to 21..except for the people that are in the military. They can die and serve our country and all that…I think they should be able to,” said smoker Clarence Teezling.

24-year-old Kerry Ray says he’s been smoking since he was 10 or 11 years old.

“There’s still kids out these days that are going to bootleggers and everything else that doesn’t ask for I’D’s. And if the age on tobacco gets raised, what says that they’re not going to have bootleggers for that too.”

Tobacco 21 supporters will before Harrison City Council next Thursday, for the first reading of the proposed ordinance.

Helena-West-Helena was the first city in Arkansas to implement a “Tobacco 21” law.

San Antonio smoke shops prepare for new ordinance raising tobacco age to 21

San Antonio businesses are preparing for a new ordinance that will go into effect October 1 that will raise the age for purchasing tobacco products to 21.

Tobacco shops within the city limits will soon have new signs banning sales to customers under the age of 21.

Effective Oct. 1, 2018, a new tobacco ordinance will prohibit the sale of tobacco products to any person under 21 years of age within the boundaries of the City of San Antonio.

According to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, this includes all forms of tobacco products including liquids used in e-cigarettes or hookahs.
“What we want to accomplish is reducing the number of young people, young adults who start smoking in our community,” Assistant Director Mario Martinez said, “And that’s a big push is to get that education across.”

In all, 95 percent of adult smokers began smoking before the age of 21, and 88 percent began before age 18, according to the department.

Bridgette McFarlin, manager at Smokerz Paradize, said that she’s all too familiar with these statistics.

“I started smoking at 16,” McFarlin said. “I stopped, but once I turned 18, started up again. I really wish that I was a more mature age to know I shouldn’t do it, because I’m really regretting smoking right now.”

The smoke shop is one of dozens within the city limits that are training their employees and changing their signs to reflect the new ordinance.

8 in 10 Support raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and vaping devices to 21

Last week, Texas Medical Center, in Houston released a nationwide survey that found:

-82 percent of Americans support preventing the sale of all tobacco products to people under the age of 21;
-80 percent of Americans support preventing the sale of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices to anyone under age 21;
-79 percent of Americans support limiting the amount of nicotine in tobacco products;
-65 percent of Americans support banning the use of candy and fruit flavorings in e-cigarettes and other vaping products;
-60 percent of Americans support banning the use of candy and fruit flavorings in cigars and cigarillos;
-60 percent of Americans support banning the use of menthol, a minty flavoring, in cigarettes; and
-52 percent of Americans support banning the sale of all tobacco products.

The relevant findings were based on a nationwide survey of more than 4,000 people.
See graphic of these statistics here:


Minnetonka Votes to Raise Tobacco Sales Age to 21

Minnetonka has become the latest city to raise the tobacco sales age to 21.

The Minnetonka City Council passed the ordinance at its meeting Monday night.

Meanwhile, Edina, St. Louis Park, Bloomington, Plymouth, North Mankato, Falcon Heights, Shoreview, Minneapolis, St. Peter, Richfield, and Roseville are cities that have raised the tobacco sales age to 21.

The ordinance in Minnetonka is expected to go into effect in January.

Montreal councillors want smoking age raised to 21

City council will vote Monday on the motion, which is aimed at putting pressure on provincial parties to take a tougher stance on smoking.

Montreal North borough mayor Christine Black and two city councillors are calling on the provincial government to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21, arguing that such a measure would ultimately save lives.

Black’s motion, proposed by veteran Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand and Andrée Hénault of Anjou, already has the backing of the director of the Montreal Public Health Department.

“Raising the legal buying age to 21 is a promising solution to decrease access to tobacco products,” Dr. Mylène Drouin, director of the department, wrote in a letter to Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.

City council will vote on the motion on Monday. The motion also urges the next provincial government to raise taxes on tobacco progressively to deter smoking.

“According to the Canadian Cancer Society, tobacco use is responsible for 20 per cent of all deaths nationally, and has given rise to $6.5 billion in additional health-care costs,” Black said in a statement.

Black noted that a recent SOM poll found that 73 per cent of Quebecers are in favour of raising tobacco taxes to the same level as those in Ontario.

Rotrand, a longtime advocate for a smoke-free environment, noted that Quebec charges the lowest retail taxes on tobacco of all the provinces. The tax on a carton of 200 cigarettes is $29.80 compared with $47.93 in Ontario.

Research has shown that raising tobacco taxes by 10 per cent leads to a four-per-cent reduction in the number of smokers.

“Tobacco kills more Montrealers than guns do,” Rotrand said. “Quebec has to step up to the plate. It has had the lowest tobacco taxes since 1994.”

The timing of Friday’s news conference at Montreal city hall coincides with the provincial election campaign, putting pressure on the four main political parties to take a tougher stance on smoking.

Kevin Bilodeau, director of government relations for the Heart and Stroke Foundation in Quebec, noted that all the parties are insisting that health care is a priority, yet he lamented that there’s been no talk on reducing tobacco use.

“Health care has become a central theme in the campaign.” Bilodeau said. “All the parties want to solve the problems of health care rather than focusing on prevention.”

. . .

A 2017 Statistics Canada report observed that “people typically begin smoking during their teenage years.” It’s estimated that more than 200,000 Canadians aged 15 to 19 smoke.

Some teens start smoking when friends in their social circle who are 18 share cigarettes with them. Thus, raising the legal smoking age to 21 will reduce the likelihood of teens picking up the deadly habit, said Katherine Unger, of the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation in the United States.

“Ninety-five per cent of adult smokers started using tobacco products before the age of 21,” Unger explained.

“Many transition from experimental smoking to regular, daily use during the ages of 18 to 21. Delaying the age when kids first experiment or begin using tobacco can reduce the risk that they will transition to regular or daily tobacco use.”

Unger noted that six U.S. states — Hawaii, California, Oregon, Maine, New Jersey and Massachusetts — have adopted tobacco 21 laws, covering 28 per cent of the U.S. population.

The prevalence of smoking has declined in all provinces from 1999 to 2015, according to a University of Waterloo study. In Quebec, smoking prevalence dropped from 30.3 per cent in 1999 to 14.2 per cent in 2015. But the growing popularity of E-cigarettes threatens to reverse that trend, Unger warned.